Are we there yet? ...Nearly

  • Posted on: 11 May 2022
  • By: MrWurster

Harvest 2022
Well, we are here….almost.
Harvest was meant to start today, Wednesday. There's a lot to organize. For two days of harvest I need a tree-shaker and driver, field bins for picked olives, transport to and from the crush, a tractor forklift and driver, and a shed forklift and driver.

And barrels for the new oil, bottles, caps, labels…..

And I had it all lined up, everyone booked, all deliveries here and ready.

Except the key contractor, the tree shaker, came down with Covid last week and was still testing positive as of Monday. On that basis we pulled the plug, and after a lot of phones calls everyone is booked in for next Sunday start.

The plan for this year was two picks. An early and a late one, both two weeks either side of the optimum pick day. The idea was we might get two different sorts of oil…an early, green oil which would most likely be fiery and sharp, and a later one that would be smoother. For different reasons last year's harvest ended up being late and the amazing oil we got from that made me think we should aim for that again.

But the trees are changing, hourly almost. We are at the pointy end of the olive year, and every day is a change.

Some trees I drive past and stop, thinking…"I'm sure that was covered in green olives yesterday". It was. Now they are all black. You can see it when you stop and look closely, just not from a moving vehicle. So with the new harvest delay, by the time its all done the two oils might not be that much different.

The other experiment we are doing is separate crushes. I am sending one pick to one crushing plant, the other one to a separate plant. Again, this is to split the results and see if we get a better result from one or the other. This might be in either volume of oil returned, or quality, or both.

Separate picks, separate crushes doesn't double the costs, but it increases them quite a bit. Its not something we will necessarily do every year, but definitely worth the experiment at least once. And it’s a signal to our incumbent supplier to lift his game….

We are already handpicking olives for preserving. While our grove is predominantly frantoio, which are not really the best olive for bottling, we have enough other sorts of olives (Kalamata, manzanillo, and some sort of big Spanish olive) to make a good mixed olive product. I am confident we will be able to sell everything we make, but this year its a toe in the water. We are not spending money on wages for pickers or anything like that….just the two of us picking for a few hours each day. We should have a few hundred kilos accumulated over the next few weeks.