Celia's blog

Musings on life in Lodeve, Languedoc

Olive picking

Posted by celiahukins on 15/12/2012

olives

November is olive picking time. We had already picked some green olives from one of the trees in our garden in October, and now we have jars of black olives as well, soaking in brine to debitter them. We only have a few olive trees, some of which do not produce many olives, and as we were interested to find out how it worked for people with lots of olive trees, we were pleased when our French neighbours introduced us to Sylvie and Bruno who have an olive farm at Mont Redon. We spent the weekend olive picking. It goes like this – you arrive about 9 am, have a coffee in the welcoming kitchen, meet up with your fellow pickers, and then set off – maybe 12 of you – to pick olives. At first the wind is cold and you need to be warmly wrapped up (though it’s hard to pick olives with gloves on) but gradually it gets warmer, and maybe the wind drops a little.

Olive pickers
We pick the olives 2 or 3 people to a bush. There is much conversation and joking, different family members who haven’t seen each other for a while catch up on the news. And even the former maire comes along – that’s him on the left of the photo.
The time passes surprisingly quickly, and as the morning wears on there are speculations about what will be for lunch, an important part of the activities. By 1 o’clock we are ready to return to the kitchen for a welcome warming pastis or two.

A good  day's work
On the first day we have soup followed by grilled sausage with risotto, the second day soup and an excellent boeuf bourgignonne . The olives will go to the huilerie cooperative to be made into olive oil. We tasted some made from a previous picking; the harvest hasn’t been large this year because of the cold in February.
lunch time

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