Picking olives is not really like picking olives. It is combing grapes, plumbs, cherries, or olives off branches. When we have about 8 boxes or almost 200kg after one day of work the next day comes and we can almost double that. We then head to the mill, all you need are 350kg of olives to get yourself some oil. I am not sure the exact amount of oil this produces because the olives all have different amounts of oil in them. I do believe that the return rate is 10% on average. So it takes a lot of work to produce olive oil but fresh olive oil is worth the effort! The aroma that comes out of the oil is so similar to the taste of an olive straight off the tree. I have never tasted anything so bitter in my life. I nearly purged the breakfast out of my stomach the first time I ate one. I keep watching the parents of these olive trees taste them and I keep getting the same nasty kick I did the first time. The host seem to think there is after tones of fruit but no not for me. The olives look like fruit but as much as I desire them to be, they are not.
What is the experience of picking Olives en Provence?
Walking up to the tree and taking in the character of it. One tree had its leaves practically laying on the ground because his branches were sagging. As Gerry stated we were hoping it would perk up a bit once we took the weight of the world off its branches. No luck but lots of satisfaction as we pruned it and gave it some love.
Another part of the process is laying down bashers under the trees to catch-all the olives. These are actually big blue tarp’s. Laying these down is the hardest part of the whole job because they are huge, maybe like 24ft by 24ft, some of them. We are working on a hill so the olives turn the bashers into a playground of slides and we must catch them when they fall. Hehe. Standing with your back facing down hill balancing on you tip toes rolling the edge of the tarp to give it that sort of unique edge is what bashing is all about. Sliding the tarp to the stump part umm the haha I’m stumped, the bark, the stem, whatever we are covering the ground which covers the roots and like with the tree before sometimes only one branch falls and we have to crawl under the others to pick it up so we don’t break it. Backing up a little to make more sense, imagine a large square drawn on the ground around the olive trees this is basically what we do with the blue bashers. It’s complicated sort of, and I’d rather describe the trees.
I learned the other day that you can tell a lot about a trees roots from the way it grows. Some trees grow branches only on half its side, so that is where its roots must lie.
The company, the thing that makes olive picking magical. I am thankful for the women I work next to and the man and woman of it all, Mark and Gerry. These two host have a great laugh about them and a charm that keeps the butterflies in your stomach for days. I just like the way that sounded it’s not actual feelings of butterflies but you definitely walk away from a day or an evening with them feeling happy and giggling. This goes for my fortunate luck in stumbling upon two roommates that spark the same fire. The risk if this lifestyle is running into other helpers that do not make a match with you. I at this moment have found my matches and it shows everyday we are together.
We cook, well they cook, I watch because I am still refining my confidence for cuisine. We play games, mind games. We talk about our previous lives as if it all still exist because it does we cannot escape that. We talk about our futures oh these girls have bright futures very very bright and I am so excited to see the universal impact of their worldly decisions. I walked into this situation knowing I was surrounded by powerful women and they have done nothing but prove me right with every word and every move. The last time I felt this way was when I started working at the botany store in Denver. Good company is restorative and the strongest medicine I have ever found.
Anyways, I am flying to London when my days can no longer be filled with olives and company. I cannot get a visa because I am working outside of the system and so I get 90 days in Europe and have to spend 90 days out of the Schengen territory at least. I want to complain but it is a force into another part of this beautiful world that I am not going to fight. So off I fly to the next land of joyous adventures. First I shall celebrate thanksgiving with a wild boar and a cake native to Latvia.
Seeing as I am without a journal or a pen I am sure you will be hearing from me again soon.
Thank you for reading.
With a lot of love,