The olive harvest has been delayed this year by much needed rain at the last minute. Much needed by the olives, water fattens them, but irritating for the farmers who have had to delay their schedule, postpone the arrival of machinery and men. So they are patient. Rushing in too soon after rain can mean heavy machinery becoming bogged down. Yesterday the valley echoed to the sound of chainsaws as men surveyed the groves already harvested and started with the annual pruning. Smoke soon follows as the cut twigs and branches are burned. Thin spirals of pale grey twist upwards into a clear blue sky.
And the next morning, while it was still dark, car after car head into the wilds, along tracks deep into the olive groves, to pre-agreed meeting points where coffee, bread and fiery spirits are dispensed as the sun rises and the picking machines stand ready.
5 to remember
posponer – to postpone
en el último minuto – at the last minute
empantanado – bogged down
las espirales delgadas – the thin spirals
todavía oscuro – still dark
And if you’d like to tweet a link to THIS post, here’s my suggested tweet:
Waiting for the #olive harvest to begin in #Spain https://wp.me/p3dYp6-2gh via @Spanish_Valley
This is the busiest time of year for the olive farmers around here. In December and January the olives are harvested. Pablo’s harvest is finished and taken to the cooperativa, he is now waiting to hear the price per kilo and the total value of his crop. Now the tidying begins. On a fine day, the air is full of wood smoke as the prunings from the olive trees are burned. Line by line, the farmers walk their olive groves, pruning their trees. It is a hard slog, olive farming is not a mechanized form of production. The next enemy is weeds, on the hillside opposite us, a tractor ploughed relentlessly up and down each line of olives, tearing up the weeds. The next job will be to fertilize each individual tree. In a month or so, the farmers will be spraying each tree against pests and disease. This is particularly important given the bacterium Xylella fastidiosa which is decimating olive groves in Italy, it causes the foliage to dry out, darkens the wood and eventually kills the trees.
For more on the disease which is affecting Italy’s olive trees, click here for a report in Olive Oil Times. 5 to remember
cada – each
la plaga – the pests
la enfermedad – the disease
la bacteria – the bacterium
el follaje – the foliage