YES, WE FINALLY FINISHED OLIVE HARVESTING!
Excuse me for shouting, but the occasion warranted it. It took us a month and by the end of it I was dreaming of olive picking 🙂
So what happened?
On our quinta we have 67 olive trees and only about 50 of them were ready to harvest.
First of all, peeps, if you are newbies like us, don’t make the same mistake! Learn when your local olive press opens before starting the harvest.
In our excitement we started too early on the 1st of November. After week of staying in the crates the olives started rotting and we asked around if any presses were operating. The answer was – not until the 18th of November. So we had to put our first 5 crates in water to preserve them somehow.
So first question you ask: when the press is open?
Second question is just as important. What is the minimal load for the press to do your olives individually? You see, they are all very different.
The press in our village (Proença-a-Velha) is supposed to be the best in the area and does a cold press for extra virgin olive oil. It doesn’t have minimum requirement for the load but maximum you can bring them is 500 kg per week.
When they press your olives they take 15% of the oil as a payment (if you are a resident, 20% for non-residents) and provide you with 5 litre plastic bottles of your oil in return.
The press our friends use in Monsanto is a hot press for virgin oil, and you generally expect a return of 1 litre oil per 10kg of olives. The minimum load they take for individual pressing? 400kg.
You see you need to know these pesky details beforehand.
So after a shaky start we returned to olive picking on November 11th and continued for about 10 days picking olives and pruning trees at the same time.
We heard that you shouldn’t prune trees before the first frost, but we did it anyway because everyone will tell you something different, and you can only pick and choose one thing and learn on your own mistakes, right?
Our trees have been abandoned for few years so they were really over grown, and we pruned them pretty harshly.
Also if you do olive picking don’t start until the temperature drops significantly at night. Your olives will not rot waiting in their crates then. From first five crates we collected in the beginning of the month we lost one. So next year we won’t start the harvest until 3rd week of November.
The tools we had?
Two ladders, a 6×6 m net (next year I’m going for 10×10 – much better) and two saws. I recommend gloves as well.
First batch of olives gave us 24 crates which we barely fitted into the car.
A crate cost us around 3.75 euro, and we also bought a net for about 15 euro.
The press weighed our olives at 378kg and a week later we received 40 litres of beautiful olive oil in return.
Our second batch we finished this morning at 21 crates or 318kg and we expect to get more olive oil in a week’s time.
We hope to get just under 70 litres in total from our 696 kg which will serve as yearly supply and let us give a few bottles of oil to our friends and family for Christmas.
The oil is slightly spicy and zingy because of the mix of green and black olives but very tasty.
I’m already trying to use it to make a perfume…
This is it for tonight, fire away with questions and suggestions.
Over and out.