We’ve seen a lot of olive groves since we’ve been walking in Italy.

A field of olive trees all in neat rows

A field of olive trees with a ladder propped up against one of them

So many that we started to imagine an Italian version of Byker Grove called Olive Grove. We got as far as Gianni being blinded in a terrible olive-picking accident and then we thankfully ran out of ideas.

Moving on, it’s olive-picking season at the moment so we’ve learnt a bit about the olive-harvesting process over the last few days. We think it goes a bit like this:

1. Lay out a sheet under the trees.

We saw big sheets of netting under trees to catch as many olives as possible.

Sheets of material covering the ground below the olive trees

2. Cut off the branches.

Some of the pickers we saw were using small motor-powered rakes that cut the olives from the trees. In some of the bigger olive groves, we’ve seen people using more industrial machines that shake the olives down. We think this one’s called an oliviera:

3. Separate the olives from the branches.

We saw these 2 excellent dudes near Lake Bolsena:

Two olive pickers posing with crates of olives and a machine which separates the olives from any bits of tree

They were using this machine to separate the olives from the branches. They put everything in the top bit then olives came out of the top chute and branches came out of the bottom chute.

Clever eh? 

And that’s not all…

Apparently, people do olive farming in lots of different ways. If you’re interested, why not read these articles we found on the subject:

Go on… olive a little!