Tuesday, November 23, 2010

How to make 16 litres of the purest olive oil.

Step One
Buy a beautiful house in Spain with a rather bare and dusty garden, the garden has three lovely looking olive trees, as well as three other small trees that bear some sort of small fruit, but you´re not really sure.
Step Two
Completely neglect the garden, as your priority is to get the house sorted for your own comfort and your children. Focus on the house and pool. Occasionally remember to water the trees. Periodically notice that one tree is very large and keeps bashing into the gate as you open and close it to leave the house. Spend large amounts of money on the house.
Step Three
Notice that the olive trees seem to have an abundance of green olives on them. Other than watering them intermittently, ignore them.
Step Four
Do a desultory search on the internet about when to harvest olives as you are utterly clueless. See an article about deep watering the trees. Spend a couple of minutes, with four year old daughter helping, watering the olive trees, feeling a bit guilty.
Step Five
Notice that some black olives are being blown onto path; they look ripe, wonder what to do. Notice that one particular tree is very overladen with weighty olives which are dragging the branches down to the ground…hmmmmmm
Step Six
Have a conversation with friendly neighbours about picking some green olives as they have a recipe for them
Step Seven
Overhear some folks at work talking about taking their olive crop to be pressed. They swapped their weighed olives for oil! Yippee! Immediately ask where olive pressing place is, only to find it is miles from your own home. Thankfully, kind Spanish member of staff offers to take your olives for you if you drop them off at school!
Step Eight
Discuss olive pressing plan with neighbours, agree to meet at weekend to pick olives, neighbours will take green olives for a recipe and remainder will be taking for squashing
Step Nine
Neighbours come over at weekend to help pick. Thankfully they are equipped with plastic for the ground (to catch dropped olives), sticks for beating the tree so that olives fall off, and baskets for collecting.
Spend a good part of 6 hours picking olives, supervising 4 and 7 year old as they beat the olive trees, chatting to Spanish neighbours. Become ridiculously upset each time you accidentally step on an olive and crush all the oil out of it. Become obsessed with getting as many olives off the tree as possible. Realise that the trees have an enormous number of olives on them. Realise that picking olives is thankless. Realise why olive oil is so expensive.
Step ten
Clear up plastic, sort green olives from ripe ones, sweep path. Realise that you have about 80kg of olives in back of car. Discuss with neighbours re-convening on Tuesday as there is one final tree to strip!
Step Eleven
Drive olives into work and drop them off in kind Spanish colleagues car…realise that they are quite heavy! As you drive out of gate, look up at “stripped” olive tree and realise there´s a whole section that four adults and two children have completely missed, it is jam packed full of olives!!
Step Twelve
Meet with neighbours and strip third tree. This is quicker as you are now experts at laying plastic, climbing tree and stripping olives. Also, final tree is smaller! After final tree is stripped, jokingly comment to neighbours about section missed on first tree, at which point, they lay down plastic…strip final section of first tree, which yields about another 15 kg!
Step Twelve
Colleague brings in your olive oil!! 16 litres in exchange for your 80kg, they normally give 15 litres per 100 kg, but apparently your olives are particularly good quality (obviously because of the love and care you have lavished upon them!) And you still have the olives from the third tree and the remnants from the first tree in the back of your car! Give 2 litres to kind Spanish colleague, who says it is too much. Insist that he takes it! Share half of remaining olive oil with neighbours. Plan to give some of your share as Christmas gift. Feel very happy with your first harvest!! Wonder how many more litres you will get from final buckets in the back of your car! Begin to wonder about pruning trees for next year…


1 comment:

  1. Interesting and fascinating. Isn't it amazing how different life is and what experiences our children are having? It's wonderful to share these stories with you. x


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