Twin Sisters – Harvest Day One

by Peggy OKelly on November 10, 2010

I hope you kept up yesterday via facebook and twitter but if not, here is a summary of the day.  I’m in a rush to get back at it so I’ll keep it short!

I woke up yesterday to the beautiful rays of the sun…Mother Nature was shining upon us and allowing us to pick!  I threw on my clothes and those familiar boots and off I went.

LONG day, short….the day went great.  We had two crews of 6-7 people.  One was very experienced….the other not.  We had no idea how many tons we would pull for the day…conservatively hoping for 8 …. we pulled a full trailer…24 macro bins!  Macro bins are 1/2 ton containers…but it’s a little tricky because your olives will only be 1/2 ton if they are overflowing in the bin….and you don’t want to do that.  To preserve the health of the olives, you need to give them breathing room….so you normally fill the bins to about 2/3rds full.  So, don’t think we pulled 12 tons yesterday…if you’re in the contest… might have to do some math. 🙂

With 2,000 trees, we need a little help from machines.  The guys are using automatic shakers and then following it with stick beating.  Don’t be alarmed…this is a normal practice used in Europe forever.  The shaker is put on a branch and shakes it like crazy….olives fall off onto the tarps…and then other guys come behind beating the branches with a stick…looks a little harsh but the trees are none the worse for the ware.  I’ll post a video of the action next.  The tarps are then picked up and olives are put in the macro bin.  As this is happening, a guy is using a leaf blower to blow out leaves as the olives are barreling in.  It works well….Shari said are olives were very clean!

When a bin is full, it is loaded on the truck.  When the truck is full, we end the day and drive to the mill.  We are pressing at McEvoy Ranch this year as we have found them to be a class act.  Shari, who has been in the business since I started, runs their farming operation..or close to it.  She is a very cool person and very passionate about the Earth…and Olives!

Here some pictures that tell the story.  You may find clues but there are still a few days to go on this property.  We will take 12 macros again today…..6 tomorrow (tell you why later)..and the rest on Friday….whatever that may be!  So we anticipate that all Twin Sisters olives will be picked by Friday.

As we are loading the last bins, it begins to rain.  This is somewhat unexpected.  We wait to see if we should cover the olives….the cloud passes and the sky looks okay for the trip…we finish loading and head out….or not…A flat?  Everyone looks and it for a bit and there is some mumbling.  The next thing I know, Paul tells me to jump in the truck….we are not going to worry about it.  Hmm……..ok.   So we head out…and this was not a limousine ride let me tell you.  Any small bump made us bump about 3 times…no wonder they make those seats so springy.  As soon as I got used to the shake, rattle and roll and begin to enjoy the SLOW journey with our olives, the wind shield wipers go on….I look at Paul….it’s raining?!  I know … stupid question …one I really didn’t want to know the answer to.  It was raining…and we didn’t bring a tarp…and water will get in the macros and sit with the olives… not good.  All day we seemed to barely miss these events that could have been ugly..and this was one of them…although it misted the entire drive….it did not hurt the olives…ya!

Our drive was quite eventful…..we hit traffic on 101 as we were going to Petaluma.  By the time we got to the Point Reyes Hwy, it was dark….black actually….and we missed a turn and ended up in a neighborhood…not fun in a huge truck….would it be a semi?  Not sure but it was not one you would drive to your friends house for dinner…but Paul got us out of it and we ventured on.

We got a mile or so in on a DARK winding hwy…narrow lanes….and we started to look for the entrance…and look and look…I even squinted I was trying to look so hard. 🙂  The next thing we knew we were way down on the Hwy and knew we had overshot it.  The bummer….no where to turn around.  We pulled over ever so slightly and stopped the truck…our phones had no service at this point and there was no close place to even ask…and did I tell you how DARK it was?!  I was faced toward Paul (my back to the door) and as we were chatting about our next move, my door flew wide open….with force….and I jumped as far as my seatbelt would let me and let out a huge scream.  I looked down (the advantage of a big truck) on this innocent gentleman who was so apologetic and was simply asking if we needed help.  (I really need to stop watching 48 hours Mystery).  As soon as we all recovered from my scene, the gentleman told us we did pass McEvoy.  He told us that we could turn around in the Firehouse that was a few miles up and then we would have to shoot past McEvoy as we could not take a right into it…and make a U turn at this certain road.  We said we then needed to look for a little white sign so we wouldn’t miss the turn again.  I looked at Paul and he looked at me….we did look for that little sign… really hard….and here we were.  Paul didn’t hesitate…he immediately asked the gentleman if he would be so kind as to lead us in.  Ya I bet he was feeling good about being a model citizen when he heard that!  He looked at his watch….looked at our faces…might have been afraid I’d scream or cry or something…so he agreed….and he lead us up to the Fire Station….and back to the road 2 miles past our destination….and u turned with us to head back up the hill…and then pulled into this tiny drive way and led us in to McEvoy.  When he made the turn in, we knew that there was NO WAY we would have ever found it….wow..he was our Angel that is for sure.  Luckily he was an Angel with a business card so we are going to be sending him a care package very soon!  It was crazy…there was no reason he needed to stop for us…SO very cool.

So we got to the press late….Shari met us there and everyone figured we were lost.  Nice.  It was still very dark and now very cold.  But, we were there!  The olives were unloaded and quickly put under safe cover.  They looked beautiful….so many different colors.  We all went over and looked at all of them as if we were saying good bye.  We then naturally ran our fingers through the olives as you just naturally do and talked about their beauty, ripeness, potential yield et al….  My favorite part of all of this is communing with the fruit like that…paying tribute to what the earth has provided…no words needed….you just run your fingers through….pull out some leaves….and thank the olives….and the earth…and walk away…in anticipation of what is yet to come.

I think this journey with you is special because you too can sense the beauty of what goes into the olive oil that you so enjoy…it will make it that much more special.  Oh..enough gabbing…I’ve got to go!  Here are some pictures of the night.

Not a good picture but that’s our Angel in the truck in front…leading the way!

Off loading truck at McEvoy Ranch, Petaluma….Ya!!!

Olives safe and sound.

Shari communing with the olives….she gave us the thumbs up on cleanliness and overall look and ripeness!

These are their Sevillano olives that they will use the prime the Mill before we go through.

These are our Italian varietals!

Loading for the trip home…we had to borrow some Macro bins for today….

Needless to say, the trip back home was not as eventful.  We drove back to Suisun to drop the truck and then home.  I walked in the door at about 10pm….chilled to the bone and dead tired.  I crashed and before I knew it was hearing the harp sounds from my iphone….it was time to do it all over again!


Julie the Alkaline Sister November 12, 2010 at 5:48 am

Thanx for the follow on Twitter. I had to stop in and see what St. Helena Olive Oil is all about and I am fascinated. I was just in Marrakesh staying at Peacock Pavilions which is situated right in the middle of an olive grove but we were to miss the harvest which would have been amazing to participate in. I have always romanced with olive groves! Is your oil available anywhere in British Columbia? I am almost out of my bottle from Peacock Pavilions and may experience withdrawal from the creamy golden exquisitely flavoured liquid gold! It’s too far to go get more! Perhaps your oil is as yummy or better! I use a lot for my recipes and the better the oil the better the recipe turns out- you know this I’m sure! And of course the health benefits are endless!

admin November 13, 2010 at 8:55 pm

I just checked out your cool. I’ve been Vegan since January and I’m loving it! I know there are differences between that and the Alkaline diet but they are both paths to awareness. I not only am much more healthy then I’ve ever been…with more energy…but I feel an even stronger connection with the planet. There is something about eating what only the Earth provides….never would have known it had it not happened to me. I love your bio too….I totally relate to your passion….very inspiring…..thank you!

I’m so excited to check out your recipes…they look wonderful! And yes, we ship to BC…a bit pricey but maybe we can trade a recipe post or something for shipping….Ciao. Peggy

Julie the Alkaline Sister November 14, 2010 at 8:03 am

Hi Peggy
I’d be honoured to do a recipe post with you with of course some yummy olive oil as a key ingredient. When things settle down for you let me know and we can collaborate on something that is a good, tasty fit. Glad you are feelin’ the energy of a healthy body–there’s nothing else like it, is there?

Comments on this entry are closed.

Previous post:

Next post: