Once again, we are helping our friends with their family groves, and toiling away with friends always makes for light work. If you have never experienced olive harvesting, here's the quick low-down:
Years ago, before tractors and farm machinery, harvesting was done by hand, or actually by stick. Large blankets were placed on the ground around the trees and these were beaten with long varas, which were traditionally flexible poplar saplings, believe it or not. Modern-day harvesting has varied very little. The tree limbs are still beaten with varas, although they are now manufactured out of man-made materials, and, instead of blankets, large mesh mats are used to collect the olives that fall. And when I say large, I mean a good 35-40 feet on each side.
The biggest difference is the use of tractors fitted with vibrating claws that grab onto the large tree limbs and give them a good shake until the olives rain down onto the mats. The tractors are also used to drag the mats from tree to tree, and to empty the mats into a trailer when they get full. In the old days, dragging olive-laden blankets and loading them into mule-drawn carts must have been absolutely gruelling!
Here we are at work
A beautiful end to a beautiful day