The picking was a bit of a rush job as I wasn't planning to pick for another fortnight. Then I noticed that much of the fruit had begun to change colour from green to purple, and the ones that I was going to use for eating either needed collecting or nets under them, and I knew that a decision had to be made... But next weekend Best Beloved is away in London, and it's Leo's ninth birthday party. NOT a good scenario for an olive harvest.
So I put Alex and Leo to collecting the fat black ones that will be stored in brine, and while they were doing that, my brother-in-law came by to show us the new gadget that he had brought for harvesting his grove: a whirly picking machine that runs off the battery of the tractor.
Alex kinda liked the idea of using that, and he managed to get his friend to come and help. "Don't start the job if you think you might not finish it," I warned them. "It needs to be done by Sunday so that I can take them to Anogira on Monday and we're first through the press." Although Oleastro, the olive plantation and mill in Anogira village is organic, they handle other people's olives which aren't, so to keep the label 'Certified Organic Cold Pressed', I need to be first through in the morning.
They assured me that they would finish, and indeed they were by yesterday at around four.
This morning I loaded up the Land Rover, and after everyone had gone to school and Sophia had arranged a lift to her first set of entrance exams (terrible mother that I am, I had forgotten them!) at her old school, I set off through the beautiful morning.
Some serious fires burned on the slopes up to Anogira last summer. Huge tracts of scrub were reduced to charred sticks and timber, and several houses and livestock corrals were saved either through the luck of a shifting breeze or the tenacity of residents and firefighters. Burns stopped almost literally at the walls. Must have been seriously scary.
I arrived at eight, put my 161 kilos of olives through the mill, and emerged an hour and a half later with 30 litres of oil. That should see us through the year.
|The man who arrived just after me outs his olives into the|
|Anogira is the only press in Cyprus that uses millstones|
to grind the olives. They also have a museum and a
|Andreas starts my olives' oil.|
|The two guys behind me in the queue. The mill was quieter|
this year than last -- maybe it's still early.