Anne's Blog

Olive Abundance in Umbria: Our Best Year Ever

Date: October 23, 2016 - categories: , , - Leave your thoughts

Our son Keegan (36) put it this way, “Well, definitely the best year since I was born.” Not only: the best olive harvest we’ve had since we first picked our olives in 1975.
And miraculous considering that the parasite mosca olearia (literally, “olive fly”) has hit again. Perhaps not with the devastation of 2014 (when we did not pick at all due to the parasite diffusion in our olives – and Italian olive oil production down over 50% that year – up to 80 % in some areas), but that odious beast is back. You can see that insidious telltale black spot on some of the olives but not diffuse enough this year to prevent the harvest.


Olive abundance this year……..


In our olive grove, Keegan checks the olives for the mosca olearia


That tell-tale black spot of the mosca olearia

Pino was even able to set aside a good amount of the greener olives to soak in salted water in preparation for seasoning for eating.


…..and some of the green olives will be seasoned for nibbling…

Picking took two days and new friends from Washington, Doreen and Gary, helped out on the first day.





Pino and Keegan finished up the trees near our house on the second day, spreading out nets, using an olive picker Keegan had borrowed from a friend. Now and then, Pino sawed off a branch or two for needed thinning of the olive trees, and even performed a bit of tree surgery, cutting away a rotting section of a tree. Donkeys and goats relished the prunings.


Keegan and Pino spread out the net below the tree before picking


Keegan with a mechanized olive-picker, lent by a friend of his…..


Pino performs a bit of “tree surgery” on a blighted tree


Keegan throws the olive prunings to eager goats and donkeys






I handled the new young olive trees at the ends of the rows in our vineyard on the hill above our house. I opted for the traditional method: grab that branch and strip the olives into the bucket hanging from a strap around your neck.






I love that rhythmic “plunk, plunk, plunk” as the olives drop into the bucket. The only noise interrupting the bucolic peace all around.



Read about a celebration of our “new” olive oil
Read more about celebrating the “new” olive oil
Read about a past harvest – and the importance of olive oil
Click here to read about olive oil celebrations in Umbria
Click here to read about the Mediterranean diet
Read about Spello’s celebration of olive oil
Read more on olive oil, “Umbria’s gold”
Read about Assisi’s festival celebrating olive oil

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