I have just returned from my week in Civitella Casanova in Abruzzo, a beautiful scenic village where the olives grow in abundance. I spent 6 days helping to get the olive harvest in and subsequently pressed to produce olive oil. There were many local producers doing the same within the region I was staying, having seen many hoppers full of olives awaiting their turn to be pressed. I learned the art of picking from the trees with a small hand rake like tool called a ‘rostrella’. This was used to comb the branches, thus removing the olives in the process onto carefully laid nets to catch the falling crop. Ladders were used to reach those olives that were not at ground picking height, which often meant climbing into the trees at various heights. We were a team of 7 British pickers, with an addition of 2 Italians for the day when 2 motorised ‘clackers’ were used to assist with removing olives from trees that had high branches. The process is much hard work but very satisfying when the harvest is collected. You will be able to see the olive oil in December when there will be a stall at our Christmas market (Dec 10th) with bottles for sale. Having tasted the oil after the first pressing, it is something really worth waiting for. Green, peppery and simply delicious!
I am delighted to announce that our new Centre Manager, Sue O’Keefe, will be assuming the appointment on 7th November. She has spent the last 12 years at the Weald and Downland Museum co-ordinating their events and private hire. She is also an artist by profession, so a lady with many skill sets. She looks forward to meeting everyone in a couple of weeks time.