madonna del piatto

Italian family cooking

olive harvest

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Ours is a small farm, we have 11 hectares land, about 27 acres. This year we have taken advantage of the last sunny days of the season to harvest olives from our 250  trees. We like to harvest early, between the end of October and the beginning of November, when olives are just turning from green to purple. At this stage olives are rich of oil and aromatic compounds.

The oil will be fruity and peppery with a slightly bitter aftertaste.

Umbrian oil at its best.

olives for olive oil are best harvested when turning from green to purple

beautiful olives, perfect stage for harvest

Potentially we could produce some 3500 kg/7700 pounds olives. However, most of our olive trees are very young so  we presently  make only a fraction of that. We pick olives by hand, using small rakes and nets.

the slow work of harvesting olives

it's a slow work

We try to pick fast as olives should not be stored too long before processing. However, it takes at least an hour to harvest a tree like that one in this picture below. All for 2-3 bottles oil per mature tree, yeld is 15%.

harvesting from one of our mature trees

harvesting from one of our mature trees

As our fields are on a fairly steep hill, with all the climbing up and down and carting stuff back to the house at the end of the harvest we are dead tired. Luckily this year we had an energetic helper.

our dog google, not only she does not find truffles, she not even very good at harvesting olives!

Google, our only farm animal

Just like us, she can’t wait to get to the mill and see the results of our efforts.

Author: madonnadelpiatto

Former scientist, I now run B&B and cooking school Alla Madonna del Piatto in Assisi, Umbria, central Italy, together with my husband Ruurd, daughter Tea and truffle dog Google. We love good food and wine, travel, beautiful handicrafts like textiles and pottery. We feel fortunate to be able to share our magical mountain with many friends from all over the world.

8 thoughts on “olive harvest

  1. Love the photos and information — I had no idea the olive harvest was so difficult. Wish we could visit and try the olive oil from your trees! Buon natale.

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  2. Ciao Jennifer, nice to see you here! the sunny days of olive harvest seem so far away already. I have an almost ready post about the processing of olives at the mill. Luckily we do not have to work for that, only bring the olives and wait until the golden liquid comes out of the machine. Then we run home and have the first bruschetta of the year, mmmmmm. I will be working again on the blog after mid January. Happy holidays!

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  4. Great photos — I didn’t realize you had so many olive trees! (250 sounds like a lot to me!)

    I’m sure Google is a big help!

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    • Hi Sandra, you are welcome to join the harvest next time you find yourslef this side of the world. It’s hard work but it is also a lot of fun and the bruschetta with just pressed olive oil is unforgettably good!

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  7. This is great to see a bit about your harvest. Ours was a misty day since the winter came early to our part of New Zealand, but we ended up with 48 litres of gorgeous, gorgeous frantoio & leccino oil.

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