Harvest Rain Delay – Twin Sisters Property

by Peggy OKelly on November 8, 2010

Everything was set.  The crew was scheduled, equipment washed and the frantoio (olive press) was ready to receive our first 8+ tons of olives from the Twin Sisters Property.  Yes, we were ready to begin our harvest on Monday, November 8….or so we thought.

The anticipated light rain storm today was not so light….and now the fields are muddy.  The soft ground is not a good scene for heavy equipment….it will compact the soil which is not good for the orchard.  Although a good mud fight can be great fun…trying to pick 20+ tons of olives in the mud is not.  So, after a quick visit to the orchard this morning, we made the call…to not call…but delay the pick to give the land and the olives a chance to dry off.

Turning into the Twin Sisters Property, I still had hope…..until we began to slide….

A good percentage of the trees are still green.  This is not unusual for an early harvest oil.

I will always be in awe of the different stages of ripeness that can be found on one tree.  See the two purple olives on the right compared to the entire tree of green olives…this is not unusual.

Between the rain and the weight of the crop, this tree is tired….

You can’t judge a ripe olive by its cover….we have to break them open to see the flesh before we can determine degree of ripeness.

I love all the different shades of purple……

This olive looks ripe from the outside but when you break it open the flesh is still very green.  A good indication that it is ready to harvest is if it has purple veins running through the flesh.  Ours do not….so we won’t get as much yield as if we waited.  We are harvesting at this stage because it is our first year with this property…an oil can always mellow but it can’t get more character once its harvested….so we would rather error on the character side.  I’ve never pressed olives this early…it’s exciting and nerve wracking all at the same time!

This reminded me of Charlie Brown’s Christmas Tree….holding its own amongst all the older, fruit filled trees…..

Our new harvest date is Tuesday, November 9.  I was originally bummed at the delay but after walking through the orchard…immersed in all the beauty….I was reminded once again that I was not in control….simply a steward….and I am grateful to move into action whenever Mother Nature allows.

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