This morning my friend and neighbour Natalie from Moore Wollombi Garlic and I embarked on yet another foodie adventure! I had been talking to a local gent who has a gorgeous olive grove, and was so excited when he said he would be very happy if I were to pick a few crates of olives from his trees.
I have cured and marinaded olives many times with my father when I lived at home, but I have not tried it again since then - so I am very much looking forward to teaching my my son the traditional curing process - but I race ahead of myself - curing and marinading is for another blog entry! Today is about Harvest.
This morning bright and early Natalie and I made our way to our neighbour's olive grove and went to work removing fruit from the branches by hand-stripping as well as using small sturdy rakes on long sticks to get to higher branches - literally raking the olives off the branches. It was not hard work, and actually really addictive; it was hard to leave a tree because the more you look, the more fruit you find!
We harvested from two species of tree, the Nevadillo and Mazanillo. Nevadillo have small, pointy-ended fruit that are favored to make olive oil from. Manzanillo are a large, fleshy Spanish table variety of olive. At this time of year, the fruit is mature in size, but are still mostly green (unripe). We will return in 3-4 weeks and harvest again once the fruit has ripened to a beautiful deep purple.
We collected a crate of each Nevadillo and Manzanillo variety and will begin the curing process this week; I will post more blogs on the progress as we go!
Click here to see some pics of Natalie and I in the olive grove harvesting our gorgeous green gems.