Monday, January 21, 2013

Harvest time

This past October found me in the hills of Rome crossing another "must-do" activity off of my "Europe To-Do" list. Olive picking.

My friend, Laura, has a friend, Marti, whose husband works for a seminary just about an hour outside of Rome. The seminary is located in a lovely villa with lots of property. On this property: olive trees. Every October they pick the olives and deliver them to a local man to press the olives for olive oil. This year, though, they didn't have any students in residence to help the harvest. So, Marti called Laura for help and Laura called me. And I said: "Heck yes, I'll help!" And that's how I came to pick olives in the Roman countryside one day.

It was a great and somewhat unusual experience for this city girl. The men who helped with the harvest laid down net-like coverings on the ground around the trees to catch the olives. Then, we would come along with these tools that I can only describe as rake brushes. We would then, quite literally, 'comb' the trees. The tines of the rake would catch the olives and they would drop to the ground only to be caught up into the net. It was dirty, tiring, and all around wonderful! I had a great time and wouldn't mind helping next year. Crossed this off on my on to grape harvesting!

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