Monday, December 22, 2014

I Olive you.

Olives, olives, olives. Over this last month both waking and dreaming life have been filled with olives. This adventure started when after last year´s success with fermented olives led us to pick them again this year. However, we soon realized that we had far too many to ferment when every container we had was filled to the brim with the little buggers. So we decided that picking for oil was probably a good idea, until we realized that the minimum weights the press accepts in order for you to have your own oil were upwards of 300kg. We were looking at a yield of little more than 100kg.  

If we were to have oil as close as ours would be, if we had a greater quantity, we would also have to pick olives from as close to our trees as possible. As fate would have it, our neighbor, unable to pick her own allowed us to pick them. And then the neighbor next to her did the same. All of a sudden we found ourselves working from dusk till dawn atop towering trees that had never once been pruned. It was not an easy task, especially when the surrounding field had been sewn with oat which was already quite tall and our fear of destroying the crop coupled with our fear of falling from the trees made for an extreme olive picking experience. I am surprised I did not dream of porridge.

Each day after picking the olives we still had to clean them of all the leaves and other debris in order to bag them and have them preserve as well and for as long as possible. Experienced pickers with special machines pick over one ton in one weekend, but we actually think they lie when they tell us this is the case. We managed little more than half that in one month. But it was a very productive month and I still managed to weave 5 scarves. I was pretty happy with my efforts.

Much happier still when we weighed our crop and realized we had actually worked quite well considering, and when the oil started to flow it was incredibly rewarding. This year the oil yields were quite low, due to shifts in temperature during the maturation process, so we did not expect to get much oil. We were very happy when we brought home a whopping 75 Liters. This amount is more than enough for us to consume as well as to pay our "bosses" their part.

And as far as taste goes, well… it is outstanding. We have an extra virgin olive oil, with low acidity and with tropical fruit aromas (there is a touch of bananas in there). As far as pungency goes it is a two-cough oil, and because it has not been filtered we also have what is known as a cloudy oil. And just look at that colour. All we need now is some gold leaf flakes to add to it and it will be worth its weight of the same solid metal. We have a small amount of oil reserved for sale and if you are interested in having some of this precious liquid, let me know.

Now we rest by the fire. The one pictured above is not ours. Unfortunately our fire is nowhere near this towering inferno of warmth. And we brace ourselves for the frosty cold weather that will soon ruin almost everything in our garden but the cabbages and some resistant yet to be identified mushrooms.

Needless to say the next scarf woven will be olive inspired.

A merry festive season to all.