An irregular, irreverent, post-modern account of the surreal, the ordinary, and the bizarre happenings on and around the Felia lavender farm in Crete

Friday, February 05, 2010

More from the harvest

We may finish the harvest tomorrow. This morning we woke to a bright dry day and were frankly stunned to see frost lying in patches of shade in the valley bottom that the sun had yet to reach. Frosts are pretty rare here. We checked the skies and then we checked the weather forecast and both seemed to agree that there was a good chance of two dry days together.

We settled back into a two coffee pot morning and waited to see if anything was moving in on the cold northerly bimbling in from the sea but by the time we had sorted out the dogs and cleaned the cellar we were as sure as we could be that we were set fair. Out came the nets and the rakes and the buckets and the sacks: on went the work clothes (crushed olives really do stain clothing) and the wellingtons (it is still wet underfoot amongst the rampaging oxalis) and the gloves and the eye protection and out we went into the grove in a bright but not very warm morning.

We finished up at around half two. The day had not heated up. The sun shone but did not warm. We had, however, finished another ten or eleven trees and counted the remaining trees (tomorrow's all being well) at six. An early start tomorrow should enable us to finish them off, bag up and get the new crop to the factory. Today's trees were over on the northern boundary and unlike most of the other trees had fruit only on the north sides. I'm wondering whether the shade from the house is keeping the south sides of these trees too cool but I am just guessing.

We only collected the oil from our first batch yesterday and it is a fine tasting vintage - light on the tongue but with a nice aftertaste and a light peppery aroma. As we had suspected the stone to flesh ratio was up so although the biomass of the drupes collected was good the flesh yield was lower than last year (I blame a lack of a really hot summer and especially the absence of any heatwaves, Gill blames the dry spring, we all have our theories). Fruit fly infestation was noted at 2% and overall acidity was 0,5, the same as the last two years. It turns out that we had picked and bagged 395.2 kilos of fruit over last weekend and after the factory had taken oil to cover their costs we brought home just over 75 litres of single estate, single variety, transitionally organic, EVOO. A satisfying result for us and, from anecdotal evidence, a good harvest relative to other olive farmers in the area.