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submitted by Anna Cominos on 03.12.2007

Olive Picking on the Island

by Island Reporter and Astral Traveller Anna Comino

'Well the olive-trees are talking to us' meaning they need a 'klathema' a pruning.
The typical Olive-picking day starts at 6am with a round to the animals to be fed and checked that they haven't escaped and are feeding on anyone else's trees.

Then a elliniko kafe (Greek coffee) and off to the fields at 8am. Laying out of the 'liopana' (Olive sheets on which the picked olives fall). A total area of 500sq metres is laid and then the serious branch pruning commences, before the Coupepe (battery operated long- arm shakers) are held up to each branch and the olives go flying. The lower branches are combed with a traditional olive brush (bit like a kiddies' sand rake). Once a tree is "mazevid" (collected) the olive-loaded liopana are tipped into a 'koskinistra' (a sorter which separates the branches and leaves) and the olives then roll into 50kg Brazilian coffee sacks.

And the whole process is repeated again until all olive trees bearing fruit are picked. We currently, after 2 weeks, have done about 200 of 500 trees.

I have been amiss not to mention the romance of the olive: the smells, the abundance of leaves, the impressionists colours of each unique tree spanning from grey, to green, to rose, to shiraz, to cabernet, to burgundy. Texas tea but god we still have 300 bloody trees to go.

Wishing you where all here (with an olive brush in hand)

Anna C., Agia Pelagia

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2 Comments

submitted by
Maria Kalligeros
on 08.12.2007

496:From a cold and overcast New York City, thank you for posting this evocative piece that transported me right back to our beloved island. I appreciate the translations of key words, which help me to remember and build my Greek language skills! Wishing we were there, too! Best, Maria

submitted by
Jim Comino
on 13.12.2007

497:ANNA you have to be daft, standing out there in the blazing sun like I do when the olives are ripe here in aussie with rake in hand steeling the trees of their fruit. that is hard damned work and I have now retired from that duty to the beautiful queensland coastal city of Bundy.I let my daughter put her Arabian horses on the trees , they now look good for the price I paid to put in 1000 of the blighter have a good time in the Kytherian fields and sit and smell the leaves all you like ,I,m smelling salt water here. Jim Comino