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Mio Padre è un Albero - Blog

20 October 2014

Scents of autumn

Scents of autumn

In the 1700s, an Englishman travelling through Italy was amazed by the number of peasants under the foliage of one tree and affectionately called it “the olive tree with thirty trunks”. The peasants had left their shoes at the foot of the tree.

It’s October, harvest is just round the corner and old memories are resurfacing.

There was a time when the following scenes were a common sight in our olive groves.

The harvesting team had to be very large so the task wouldn’t take too long. It was the head of the team’s job to gather the harvesters and bring down all the tools required from the loft, where they had been stored from the previous year.

Wooden ladders were checked for their strength, nets placed under the tree to catch the fruit were mended, the best jute sacks for storing olives were chosen.

Everything had to be ready for when it was time to begin. Everything was enveloped in the slightly acrid smell of last year’s olives.

Ladders are no longer used. Green olives are picked with a pneumatic comb from the ground.

Jute sacks are no longer used. The harvested olives are poured from the nets into ventilated crates so they won’t get too hot while being transported to the press.

Harvesting no longer involves vast numbers of peasants intent on picking the olives of a year’s worth of work.  

Harvesting methods have changed over time as improving working conditions and methods for preserving the product can only be a good thing. But nothing will get rid of the anxiety every good olive grower feels waiting for the harvest to start: they are all too well aware of the challenges and difficulties each and every olive has had to overcome.

It is the time for concrete answers to our expectations and our countless questions about how well we have cared for the trees in the face of the strange and certainly unfavourable weather conditions.

This year more than ever, I am crossing my fingers and preparing myself, curious about what this new adventure will bring.

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