We started picking last Wednesday afternoon and very pleasant it was in the warm sunshine. Thankful for the return of the milder sunnier weather after the dreadful weather Italy suffered last week when lots of places in Northern Italy suffered with flooding and mud slides due to the excessive rain.
Our garden has been so bountiful with everything else this year, that it is a major disappointment to have such a poor crop of olives. A combination of cold weather in the spring, including snow in March when the blossom was forming and more recently the excessive rains and wind which has meant a large percentage of the crop has ended up on the ground ruined. Fortunately not everyone locally has suffered as badly as we have, although most quantities are down somewhat it just seems to be a case of how sheltered ones olive grove is. Also if we had managed to harvest before last weekends storms we may have produced enough to at least have our own pressing.
Our crop is a complete disaster dropping from last years 1,074 kilos to a pathetic 45 kilos this year. It was rather a shock that two such different figures are possible from the same number of trees. No where near enough for us to be able to take them to the mill for our own pressing. Even if someone is willing to add our olives to theirs we are unlikely to get more than a couple of litres of oil for ourselves this year. Good news just before publishing this post we heard that our olives are going to the mill with those of one of our neighbours, so at least they are not going to waste.
Fortunately with our bumper crop last year and knowing it could not possibly be so good this year, alternate years are usually high/low yield, we still have enough to see us through until next season. Sadly though it does mean no fresh olive oil for family and friends in the UK this year.
Our olive picking ended up being combined with pruning as we decided we might us well concentrate on that as we went round the olive grove harvesting such feeble quantities. As the weather was a warm 21C, with autumnal bright blue skies we were happy to spend Thursday and Friday working with our friends picking and pruning and enjoying lunches in the garden.
I did take a few pictures to share with you but this year there will be no tree to bottle process to post about. I know I have new readers since I wrote about this process last year who were looking forward to me showing you what happens.
All I can do I am afraid is direct you to last years posts so that you can see what should have happened. We are both feeling rather disappointed as although we have harvested olives every year since 2005 and have experienced very good, average and bad harvests in the past we have never had such a disastrous one!
Oh well better luck next year.
Olive Harvest Part One 2009 and Olive Harvest Part Two 2009 when we achieved great results with 1,074 kilos of Olives producing 170 litres of oil, which was an exceptionally good percentage yield of 15.82%.
In this photo you can actually see how sparse the olives were.
A pathetic cluster on this little branch, because they have remained undeveloped.
Here is a selection of some of the grotty looking olives harvested, shrivelled and attacked, or small and hard!
If only they had all looked like this one!
The full album of photos for this year’s harvest can be viewed on Flickr by visiting the collection Olives and Olive Oil