2020 Olive Harvest

Guerneville, last November

It’s about time I put up the pictures of our first olive harvest.  No excuses, I just have not gotten around to it.  It was a lot of work and a lot of fun so here we go.  I seriously underestimated the time it would take to pick our olives.  I thought we could start in the morning and that probably by noon would have all twenty seven trees picked.  Some trees had no fruit and some trees had sparse fruit but, it turns out most of the trees had a lot of fruit.  Then there’s the learning curve on how to pick the olives.  I started out picking one olive at a time on tree that was loaded with small olives and thought to myself, oh oh, this is going to take considerably longer that my initial estimate.  Eventually, I started stripping the branches and trying to get all the olives to land in the bucket.  Still it was slow work.  To get our 163 pounds of olives three of us worked all day Saturday and half a day Sunday before leaving for the mill and we had to leave five trees unpicked because we ran out of time.

The trees and the job ahead:

Lots of olives deep in the middle:

Our cracker jack crew of three:

Well, maybe with the guy in a tee shirt 2 1/2:

All business here:

At least one of our crew wants to celebrate everything with a little alcohol:

All loaded and we’re ready to head to the mill Sunday about noon:

Our production gets added to the community bin for pressing.  The mill owners told us it takes about 1,000 pounds of olives to make it worthwhile to request a separate milling of your olives only.  I don’t know if we’ll ever get that much production but we may opt for milling ours separately at some point just to see what flavor profile we are producing:

This is the weight of our contribution:

The mill on Trattore Farms, who do the community milling:

The view from the deck at the Trattore Farms tasting room where we pick up our oil two weeks after delivering the olives.  Not quite Tuscany, but nice:

The family that owns Trattore (tractor in Italian) Farms is named Bucher.  In their tasting room they have a Bucher tractor made in Switzerland:

The final results of the harvest were 3 1/2 gallons of oil from our one hundred sixty three pounds of olives.  Mary Louise of Trattore Farms told us to expect, depending on different variables, a gallon of oil from 50 to 75 pounds of fruit.  When we picked up our oil she told us that this year it was close to one gallon per 40 pounds of fruit.  The oil is good, nice and fresh, a tad bitter but not too pungent.  Next year we will pick earlier in November because we did have some frost damage.  Looking forward to it.