The cultivation of olive oil makes for a nice alternative to the day job. Recently it was a case of "straight off the plane from England, and into the grove". The olive grove now has 70 trees which were each individually handpicked for 3 days by myself and K. We aim to expand to 100 trees soon, with the help of Xmas and birthday present money from "la famiglia". The posts to mark where each young 2 or 3 -year-old tree will go have already been dug in, ready for the grand event. A 5-year-old olive tree costs 25 euros, and anything older costs much, much more.
I didn't get bored at all. I found it was a very relaxing exercise and the thought of being able to cook with 100% extra virgin olive oil for a whole year and beyond, was a big spur in terms of motivation. After a few initial showers, which hindered progress somewhat, the weather turned out to be perfect for olive picking. Blue skies, not too chilly and peace and quiet. The different types of olives and the colours were fascinating. Small, big, wrinkled, all sorts went into the bucket I had. Perched rather precariously along an embankment, some of the olive trees were a bit challenging for me to pick and I had to do so with great care.
I was aided and abetted by 4 chickens. We used to have 7, but 3 of them are now sadly defunct, due to being whisked away by external wild forces. Trying to remove Samantha from the branches was also a little bit tricky!
Below is a Tuxpi-edited "Swirl" image of Samantha.
Here's me relaxing on the edge of the embankment. Below you can see some more trees in the olive grove.
A view of the back of the car, fully loaded up with our freshly picked olives, ready to go to the local olive mill. We paid 30 euros to have the olives pressed and given back to us in containers. We then poured the lovely oil into a big stainless steel container, which now has pride of place in our cool (no central heating yet) hallway.
Can you guess which of the glasses below contain:
a) 2009 olive oil b) 2010 olive oil (unfiltered) c)2010 olive oil (freshly filtered)
If trends continue to go upwards, as indicated in the graph below, I wonder if in the future, I could devote myself more fully to the cultivation of olive oil? It would be something very exciting.
Here is a link to a post I wrote last year on the subject of olive oil cultivation in Abruzzo. You might also like to read the latest post by About Abruzzo Blog, which tells you about the Abruzzo Sunday lunch that was recently cooked using some lovely olive oil. It sounds absolutely delicious! Here is another interesting post you might like to read about Abruzzo olive oil. Have a look at this video from the Guardian, which features "The olive harvest in Italy". Many thanks to Bits'n'Bobs blog for letting me know about it!!
Before I sign off, I would like to add an image of little Al Capone, taken with his buddy Kelly, shortly before his unexpectedly sudden and rather dramatic demise a few weeks ago. Lauretum Vinum et Oleum The historic centre of Loreto Aprutino is hosting "Lauretum Vinum et Oleum" on 4, 5, 6 and 7th December. This offers visitors the chance to taste delicious local delicacies based on the local olive oil produced in the region, and sample the lovely local wine, all at the amazing price of 10 euros a head. The stunning and beautiful ceramics of Castelli will be on display in the Acerbo museum of Castelli ceramics, where part of the wine tasting takes place.
Image above of ornate Castelli pot found via Yahoo search on Castelli images
Here is a link to the information. K and I will be going to the event in Loreto Aprutino this Saturday. We'll miss you N and P!