Calling the Pick at Stagecoach

by Peggy on October 22, 2008

cGREEN OLIVES

OLIVES FROM A TREE AT STAGECOACH – VERY GREEN – RIGHT NEXT TO THE OLIVE TREE BELOW…..SAME DAY……
PURPLE/BLACK OLIVES

OBVIOUSLY OLIVES ARE IN A MUCH RIPER STAGE...AGAIN...SAME DAY....AND A NEIGHBOR TO THE TREE ABOVE.

Today I got a call today from Jason at Krupp Vineyards…he thought the olives were turning…I needed to come check them out. My initial thought was that it was VERY early…I had been hearing from other growers and producers that the fruit was coming in early…so, amidst website issues and computers crashing, I jumped in my SUV…told my staff I’d be back in an hour….and sped off.

It was a beautiful day….80+ degrees….I arrived at the ranch to find Jason and Jan preoccupied with their grape harvest. They gave me a map and off I drove into the maze of the 1000+ acres. Okay…so I got lost once…but I finally made my way to the acreage of the olives. I drove to the far end of the trees….got out of my car…anticipating that I would spot check the trees and then make my assessment. As I began to hike to the end of the row, I felt the pull of the trees….each and every one of them….I needed to look at every tree…and assess its health…and the maturity of the fruit….it was as every tree needed to be seen….recognized….and acknowledged for the fruit it was about to bear.

I know that sounds crazy but I couldn’t help myself…..ask my friends…I am not what you would consider a naturalist…I don’t commune with plants…matter of fact I have been cut off at the nursery for real plant purchases….AND….just 20 minutes prior I was engulfed in heated conversations with our website developers while guiding my retail staff through the manual transactions with customers due to our system crash…I was not in the mood for nature and intended to only do a cursury review of the trees in order to get back to the “real” world…but the power of mother nature was too great to deny…and She had different plans….

In astonishment, three hours later, I had bonded with the last olive tree……I had not only documented every row…where it was in maturity….evidence of fruit fly….dehydration….etc…but I had introduced myself to every tree…I mean so to speak…I’m not nuts….I simply showed my respect to every tree…and overall, there was very little weakness in the fruit…I think I was right…this is going to be a very special harvest.

Stagecoach was not ready to pick….. there were trees with purple and black olives…but, if I broke them open the flesh was still too green. An olive tree can fool you…the skin turns before the flesh…so, you always have to check inside. There is no scientific method to calling the pick….I look for a majority of purple olives….bleeding purple in the flesh…..preferably mixed with trees that are still green…and then I make the call. I don’t know when that will be for Stagecoach but I know that it is not today…

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