October is one of the physically toughest months for me, because it´s when we pick the olives. Due to the slope of the finca, we harvest everything by hand. As is tradition, large nets are placed under the trees and with little rakes and long poles the olives are pulled from the trees. We fill the olives then in sacks and bring them to a mill in the neighboring village.
As last year, we start picking in October, when the olives are still quite green. The cosecha temprana olive oil is fresh in taste and of high quality. Studies have proved its higher content of polyphenyls, micronutrients found in plants which act as natural antioxidants.
You might ask yourself, if this olive oil is healthier and better in taste, why doesn´t everybody harvest early? Two reasons: the green olives give less oil and they are harder to pick from the tree. My neighbors criticize us for harvesting so early and the mill from the cooperative isn´t even open yet! That´s why we bring the olives to a private mill, where the owner has recognized that a high quality olive oil also depends on the harvesting time.
This year is different from last year however. On a large scale, the olive trees have not been properly pollinated due to unfavorable weather conditions in the spring. The hot and dry summer as been difficult for the trees, so on the trees that do have olives, many are already ripening now and falling down! A whole month too early.
We will start picking the olives next week. It´s an exciting time, even though its tough. How many kilos will we harvest? And what will be the taste of this years oil? My guess is that it will be milder than last years, but fruitier. One thing is certain, I can´t wait to try it!