Tuesday, December 03, 2013
Every year, our good friends who own Wind Dance Farms in Avila Beach, have an olive picking day. They invite a bunch of friends and family to strap on buckets and head out into the olive orchard to pick every last olive off of their trees.
Every year, Fred and I find ourselves chatting with people we would have never met about a crazy array of topics while gathered around and olive tree. I have to look it up, but Fred was wondering if the origins of offering an branch in peace may have something to do with the social aspect to harvesting olives. During this particular harvest, they had an amazing guitarist serenading us- in past years there have been other musicians. Two years ago it was the most amazing Mariache band.
So, we start at 8:30 am and pick until it is difficult to find any remaining olives. Then the sorting begins- the squashy ones are discarded as well as any that have any pest issues or other issues because they will effect the flavor of the olive oil. In fact, when we are in the orchard, we are instructed not to pick the olives from the ground because if they have been on the ground longer than 24 hours they will effect the flavor. This turns out to be the reason why the harvest has to happen so quickly too. The moment they are picked, they start to oxidize. By 12:30, our friend Scott was taking the sorted olive to be pressed.
While the olives are off to get squished, the family feeds the harvesters. It's always delicious.
The result of all of this - a beautiful, delicate, balance olive oil that has won awards and for the harvesters - new friends and shared memories. Good stuff (as my dad would say).