A couple of weeks later, we helped bring in the rest of the harvest, with reinforcements from Belgium.
The timing was spot on as the weather took a very wet turn for the worse and, olive oil production being a national pastime, reservations at the olive mill were hard to come by. This was compounded by the threat of regional lockdowns so people were picking day and night – and when raining, which is usually the absolute wrong thing to do for the olives as they can easily develop mildew if left in their baskets/crates for more than a day or two… But, with mills open 24/7 at this time of year, there is a bit of leeway! It was impressive to see such strict adherence to social distancing at the mills, when they were clearly running at full pelt and people were desperate to keep an eye on their precious liquid gold!
The extra 2-3 weeks gave the olives a chance to ripen so the oil had a less spicy, throaty taste and was slightly softer tasting than the first batch. Still delicious, though!
After finishing our friends’ olives, as is normal in the community (particularly with Covid preventing people from staying in their seasonal homes and picking their olives), we gave a helping hand in a neighboring grove, so were given a chance to try some even riper olive oil! These olives were blacker, again, so the oil was yellower and softer than the early two batches.
(yes, we can hear ourselves… we are at risk of becoming olive oil geeks/bores…)!
As is customary, we were paid for our labour in oil… a very precious 6 litres! Happy Days! But we know the value of our amber nectar so already treat it with the same respect and control seen among locals!
Jas kept the locals entertained, whilst keeping an eye on Dad!