Collecting the olives
The picking season starts in late October/early November and continues through to late March. The local farmers prefer to let their olives fall on the bare ground under the trees and then roll them up with spiked rollers. This means they can collect a lot very quickly. The downside is that the olives get damaged by the spikes which means their oil is a lower quality and the farmers have to use a lot od herbicides to keep the ground weed free for the rollers to work efficiently.
We collect our olives early in the picking season to ensure they are the best quality and collect them by shaking them into nets which are layed out under the trees. Working as a team with a couple of friends, nets are laid under a group of three or four trees, then one person shakes each branch with a large 2-stroke shaker while the others beat the remaining olives off the trees. The fallen olives are collected from the nets and put in the tractor trailer for delivery to the Co-operative where they will be processed and bottled.
In previous years we have been rather enthusiastic and hand picked the olives from the trees, but it is not quick enough to be a viable method of collection.
Once the olives have been collected they are driven down in the tractor trailer to our Co-operative Soldebre in Tortosa. The two pictures of olives in crates show the range of colours we get from the different varieties of tree. The Morut is a green olive, while the Sevillianca and Farga olives are dark. There are about 1200 kilos of olives in the trailer.
This year (2012) we collected a total of just over 5,000 kilos of olives over a four week period.