one of the reasons i am in greece is that i wanted to accompany my sister, who is making a film about the olive harvest. the only problem was, when we were planning the dates for the trip, we didn't know exactly when the harvest would be. she assumed it might be as late as early december, and since i was returning home by thanksgiving, i might miss it.
but i guess the gods were with us.
as soon as we arrived in the little town of poulithra, where my sister has stayed in past years, a friend of hers told us that her olives were ready for harvest. almost one month early.
so we drove the long, rocky road to susan's house and were met with this mass of beautiful olives spread out on her terrace overlooking the sea.......
we pitched in with rakes and started shaking the trees...
removing the large stems and branches - having my hands in all this color was almost as much fun as fingerpainting in kindergarten
we loaded the bags and drove to the next village where the olive press was located.
we had all taken bets on the amount........susan's harvest weighed in at 549 kilos (nikos in the first foto won the bet!)
first you empty the bags into the hopper
and watch the olives march up the conveyer like so much black and green confetti
this man was clearing away the olive leaves and stems
and manning the control panel
getting ready for the flow
of liquid gold into the containers
what a beautiful sight......and to think the olives were just on the trees hours before....
the fun part -- lugging the now-full jugs into the back of the car
we drove down to the beach and susan stopped at a bakery along the way for a loaf of bread
and like the best tailgate picnic in the world we dipped the bread into the warm oil
happy to feel it running down our chins
and thanked the olive gods for our serendipitous timing to participate in this unique experience......