For us, one of the most special times of year is in October. The busy summer holiday season is over, the temperatures are perfect and it’s olive harvest time!!
All of our olive-picking is done by hand. The olives are gathered and taken straight to the "frantoio" (mill), where they are crushed and turned before your very eyes into delicious extra virgin olive oil.
Our olive trees are maintained throughout the year. They're pruned regularly to keep them in the shape of an open cup, which encourages the best olive growth. The open cup shape enables the light and air to get inside the tree area. The soil is grubbed and organic compost is used around each tree once every two years.
The harvest itself is performed by locals whose families have worked the fields for generations. Nets are placed underneath the trees and workers climb onto the trees with ladders and pull the olives off with hand-held rakes. The olives are then collected in the nets and placed into boxes which are then carted off to the frantoio for crushing into oil. In-keeping with local tradition, the harvest workers are remunerated by taking half of the oil that is produced.
I’m not sure how much help the children in one photo are actually giving but it's lovely to see them getting involved!
If you visit Chianti in the autumn you can visit mills during harvest season to see the olives being processed, enjoy a tasting and even have some lunch. You'll find a bottle of our very own olive oil in Casalone's kitchen for you to use.