The following post was first published nearly 4 years ago, but not much has changed - we still entertain family at Christmas and have to count on José's help.
This post could end up reading like an Academy Award acceptance speech. I’d like to thank all those people who made it possible etc. I might even wipe a tear from my eye, tears of pride and joy to finally put our olives in with all the other billions of olives that help provide 40% of the world’s olive oil.
We were a bit pushed for time getting the harvest in, having had our hands full during Christmas and New Year, entertaining the family and then getting the house ready for incoming guests. It was already the second week of January which is near the end of the season, but once our friend José turned up with the nets and a couple of long sticks I knew we had a chance. José is a true star. A huge man with olive farming in his blood.
The kids (on 50 cents/hour), my uncle David (on two glasses of wine/hour), and myself (on endless compliments from the Mrs.) got stuck in and it didn’t seem so bad. Rake up what’s fallen on the ground already, spread out the nets, thrash the tree for all you’re worth and then shake off the fallen olives into a sack.
But I can tell you, after you have thrashed two large olive trees, you are soon wiping the sweat from your eyes and the stick suddenly seems to be made of lead. Then José turned up. And suddenly me and David felt like women (no offence to women of course, but they tend to get the job of scraping the fallen olives out of the dirt). This man can strip a full grown olive tree in about 10 minutes flat. You and I (city dwellers by nature) will probably take around 30 minutes for the same tree (ie, when working together), and we’ll probably bring down half the tree as well. But with José’s help we whizzed across the finca, improving our technique as we went.
No one looked too closely and I sometimes felt we could have been delivering marbles for all they cared, but I guess the experts can recognise an olive from a hundred paces without any problem.
So, 650kg was no mean feat. But we estimate the finca is capable of producing 3 times that and I can’t wait for next year. I’d like to get to the magic tonne. And of course if you’re free in November or December, let us know and we’ll book you in!