As many of you know, in September I fell in love with Crete. I was sure to make this fact known, and mentioned it pretty much every day. What some of you don’t know, is that I also fell in love with some local fantastic olive oil. I brought 4 liters with me to NYC, and have since been using it on practically everything. My consumption of olive oil has quadrupled, and when I had about half a liter left, I started to panic. WHAT AM I GOING TO DO?? Going back to generic, store-bought olive oil no longer seemed like an option, as I now became a spoiled little brat.
So I packed my suitcase, and ventured over to Crete again.
Seeing the island as off season, uninhabited by tourists, didn’t make me love it any less. Which just proves that this love is serious.
This time, I picked the olives myself! And let me tell you, it is not easy! How is it done, you wonder? Well, good thing you have me to tell you! You use this… “olive picking electrical stick”,
which causes the olives to fall into the nets which have been set up under the trees.
I found the process quite meditative, staying aware only as to not be hit in the face by the little olive bullets. Then, the olives in the net are gathered into one big pile, and packed into sacks.
And repeat. You keep going until the sun sets, moving from tree to tree, grove to grove, day to day.
The trees are never-ending, which is what I was sure to say a few times. Which is why finishing all the trees at a grove, and packing up, is one of the most rewarding feelings ever. Until the next day…
After all the olives of the day have been packed, the sacks are then taken to the olive oil factory.
The olives are dumped into a container, and leaves from the olives are then removed.
Then the olives are moved to be washed.
After being washed, the pits are removed, and eventually they are squeezed to produce liquid gold.
The amount of oil depends on the olives. For example, one time 927 kilos of olives produced 186 liters of oil. Sometimes it is less, which makes the labor seem even harder!
I’ve done it all: picked the olives off of the trees, accumulated them into one big pile, put them into sacks, learned how to tie the sacks. Luckily, thanks to Pilates, I have guns and core of steel, which definitely came in handy! I am now an olive oil making pro! (and am now ignoring the real pros laughing at me saying that).
You would think that after all this manual labor, I’d never want to look at olives again. On the contrary, i was craving olives all the time. Now I love my fantastic olive oil even more, which I was sure to bring more of to NYC with me.
And let me tell you, never ever did I love food so much, as after spending eight hours collecting olives.