I have harvesting olives recently from the olive trees round by the village in Italy. I am curious as it’s my first time harvesting olives. Plus while I was there it was lovely sunny and warm weather. It has taken a change the following week with strong wind and rain bringing snow to the Alps?!!
One will know by the number ripen olives on trees as one drive past along the windy roads of the countryside of Mediterranean. As when is the right time to harvest the olives depends on what it is use for.
There is a great debate among olive farmers about this. I got to know it is olive harvest is when I went to the local village restaurant. The owner was closing his restaurant for the week in order for harvesting olives. He has got lots of land about 10,000 square meters.
Most of the olives harvested are used to make oil and the rest in brine. As it’s my first time harvesting olive and I don’t own much land. I am just harvesting it curing them in brine solution.
A tip to know when to harvest the olives is when they start to turn purple. Not all olives ripen at the same time. It depends on how sun they have been exposed. The more the olives faces the sun the bigger the olives grow. They come in different sizes on the same tree. All olives will eventually turn to black olives. However, to make oil black olives are harder to handle and the oil pressed doesn’t last as long as the semi ripen once. As they go rancid quite quick.
So it all depends what one is going to do with the olives. I am a bit pressed for time as we are not here for long so I try as much to harvest the ripen ones or semi ripen where it’s starting to turn into yellowish green. It is also quite weather dependable, surely one doesn’t want to harvest olives in the cold, rainy and windy October weather. If you don’t much in terms of equipment accessibility is important. Most of the olive farmers here use nets lay on the ground before the harvest. They use sticks to get to the olives. No machinery is use round here. It helps to preserve the trees and branches in many years to constantly produce olives.