Our friends Andrew & Margarita have an olive grove. Some of the trees are really old and some of them they have planted themselves 10 years ago “to fill in the gaps”. About this time every year they ask for volunteers to help with the olive harvesting and in return you receive a bottle of gorgeous green, organic, first press olive oil that you helped to harvest. How fabulous is that!
This is one of the older trees, isn’t it beautiful? Apparently you can tell the age of an olive tree by counting the number of people who can stand around its base holding hands. Its 100 years for every person. Some of these trees are over 500 years old. You can understand the great sense of privilege & responsibility Andrew & Margarita feel to be looking after these trees. Most of the trees they have are of the “Manzanilla” variety.
This is our friend Chris and Rufus walking down to the olive grove. Look at the view, and we had perfect weather for it, such a beautiful day..
There are two main ways to harvest the olives. The first way we used for the trees with less olives was with a kind of bib/basket hanging round your neck to catch the olives as you pick them with your hands.
Here I am with Rufus modelling the olive catcher..!!
This is The Washer Up, Chris & Ole demonstrating the other method, for trees with more olives. A large net is placed on the ground around the trunk of the olive tree to catch all the olives as you rake them off the branches.
The olives fall onto the net and, when the whole tree has been harvested, the net is collected up, so that the olives are all in one area.
The olives are then tipped into crates. I love the colours, you just don’t expect olives to be so bright and candy coloured..
At 2 pm Margarita prepared a lovely lunch for everyone which included an Olive Tapenade aperitivo which was delicious. I don’t usually like tapenade (or olives!) but this was really good, it tasted more like a pesto because of all the fresh herbs she used in it.
Margarita always serves a jug of water with fresh mint from their garden which I think is a beautiful idea, one I will be using in the future definitely!
Margaritas Black Olive Tapenade
- prepared black olives
- lots of fresh herbs (margarita used basil and sage I think)
- fish sauce (or salt)
- really good olive oil
Put all the ingredients in a food processor or use a stick blender and pulse until smooth- ish. I haven’t included measurements for this recipe as I don’t know them and anyway I think that tapenade, like pesto, is one of those recipes that you feel & taste as you go along and create to your own taste.
Here is Margarita and the rest of “The Olive Harvesters” enjoying a fabulous lunch on the sunny terrace. As well as the tapenade Margarita cooked a lovely Pumpkin, Chickpea & Acelgas Stew using the pumpkin & acelgas (chard) from their vegetable plot. The pumpkin she used was a variety called “Onion” beacuse that’s what it looks like. It has a bright orange flesh and delicious texture and flavour when cooked. She added a little pimenton picante (hot paprika) to spice it up a little which was perfect.
For dessert we had some fresh Moscatel grapes from the vine. The grapes have been covered in newspaper to protect them from flies etc.
The grapes were sweet and delicious, the perfect end to a lovely lunch and a brilliant day, thanks Andrew & Margarita. I can’t wait to try the olive oil that we helped to harvest, expect lots of dishes using extra virgin olive oil coming up ..!