The Olive Harvest is,like the Grape Harvest,more than work;
it's about Celebration.
The Harvest can be done with tools and machinery,but to obtain a great
Extravirgin Olive Oil it must be done strictly by hand (Brucatura is the
italian word for this process)
In fact,only by collecting the olives by hand you can avoid the damage of
these little fruits and you can also check their grade of maturation.
When the Harvest is done using this process,it's more or less like a Grape
Harvest...except for the fact that there won't be anyone who's going to
have an indigestion for eating too much grape !
In small villages like mine it is a festival with family and friends instead
of being a real work (well...at least for the first couple of days....) we take that as an excuse to gather all together at the dinner table and eat traditional dishes of Lucca,drink good wine and have fun together.
The most common method of harvesting by hand for medium or large-size trees is the following :
You have to lay out big nets under the tree and then use some "combs" to
literally brush the branches,to let the olives fall in the nets or directly
into the basket,without damaging either the tree or the olives.
Then,when all the mature olives have fallen down,you just have to pick up
the whole net.
Just like skilled fishermen,two harvesters take the net from both sides and
moves it to drag all the olives in the center,then you have to remove
possible buggy fruits or dried twigs that you might find in the freshly
Finally,the net's content is gently poured into a container,generally a
plastic box,where the olives will stay until the time of milling (molitura).
(not more than 48hrs for a good extravirgin.)