Wednesday, 23 November 2011

Olive Harvest 2011

We started our 2011 olive harvest on Tuesday 22nd November We learnt quite a few lessons from our first harvest last year. We started last year using our hands to harvest olives but after a short while, and after many cuts and scratches, we purchased two hand held rakes. These permit a quicker and less painless harvest but the only drawback is a lot of time is needed after harvesting to remove the twigs, leaves and detach olives still attached to small branches.

However, we will not clean the olives as thoroughly as last year, when we removed virtually every leaf, only to find when we got to the mill that some people hardly clean their's at all as the machinery removes nearly all the debris before processing.

Another lesson we learnt since last year was to not pick olives that had fallen from the tree, as on investigation we have found that the olives start deteriorating quite quickly after falling and this effects the acidity level of the olive oil.

The biggest plus this harvest has been our purchase of good quality netting, Last year we used a thick plastic sheet and found that that the wind kept blowing the sheet in all over the place and however careful we were it kept tearing and splitting.

We started on Tuesday morning at 8.00 and finished 16.00 and harvested 3 trees which are in a field some 200 meters from the house. We were unable to drive any closer than 75 meters away, so this entailed a lot of carrying from the car and back again. We harvested 140kg and with the ladder, netting and everything else- we spent quite sometime getting the car loaded. This was a big increase on last years harvest when we only got 3kg from the same trees which must have been harvested by somebody by mistake or more likely deliberately.

We started Wednesday morning at 7.00 on the four trees in our garden and finished harvesting at 16.00 but had harvested 171kg,

In 2010 the four tress in our garden produced 214kg so this years total was 34kg less. But each year some trees provide a reduced harvest and others are more laden. For example, one tree had 93kg last year but only  16kg this year, whilst another only had 3kg last year but provided 24kg this year.

We started the cleaning process but will have to finish off the remaining half before going to the mill tomorrow.

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