Olive harvest 2013

Mifnight black olives

We live in a tiny cottage about 2 kms from the very centre of Melbourne. And that’s just the way we like it. You might think that would preclude us from industrial scale food harvesting, but you would be wrong.

Well, industrial might be pushing it just a tad but our olive trees are so monstrous and laden with so much fruit that they are certainly the equivalent of a tiny grove.

The other day I had our arborist come in (the same one I sent a text to a few years ago that inadvertently finished with three kisses – force of habit – MORTIFYING!) to come in and lop the tops off so we could a) harvest all the olives from the top and b) reduce the risk of one of these immense trees toppling over and bringing down the slightly rickety back bit of our house.

In the next shot you can see the arborist mid lop. He’s standing on the top of our fence which is about 7 feet tall and he’s no slouch. That should give you some sense of the scale of the trees. Bloody enormous.

Todd lopping  olives

The entire courtyard was a sea of olive branches, so many so that we felt a bit overwhelmed.

Courtyard full of olive branches

We harvested the ones from the downed limbs. When I say we, I mean my handsome husband. He did most of the work. Nah, he did all of it.

And he’s never looked quite so Greek as this.

Hands of a harvester

We’ve got about 30kgs of olives. And we discarded probably another 10kg that were past it or badly blemished. In the 4 years we’ve been collecting, it is by far our biggest crop. By far.

After the harvest we sat for 5 hours straight and put three slits in each olive preparation for brining. When I say we, I of course mean him. His hands are still stained from the process.

Bucket of balck olives

So now our precious olives are soaking in their salty bath for a biblical 40 days and 40 nights. After that, we’ll preserve our babies; some in olive oil, some in brine. I’m going to have to order in extra preserving jars and buy tens of litres of olive oil. Hello Costco.

I am utterly in love with the fact that we are able to have a true harvest from our tiny back yard. It was these wondrous olive trees (my eternal obsession – see this post) that sold me on our house.

2 buckets of olives and branches

Two years from now we should have another bumper crop from massive trees. In the meantime, I would love to find someone with a small press who might consider pressing some of ours for a very small batch of  our own olive oil. Now THAT would be amazing.

Courtyard during olive harvest

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