September 20, 2014, 05:55 PM
Olive Harvest, and timing visit to enjoy it.
Olive Harvest should be getting close, and I am wondering if any of our dear Tuscans have a good guess as to when the early harvest will start.
If there is a chance we can visit and observe, we could adjust our schedule around it, or make a loop in the route travelled if needed.
I realize that Olives are no different than anything else worth growing, and they laugh at Calendars and watches, so an educated guess or "Roundabout" week is understood completely...my own fruit crops, like to be fashionably late when the mood strikes, and Early when I am not caught up.
Any suggestions for making the most of the Harvest in the region?
Special dishes for the season, and traditional harvest dishes that bring luck?
September 22, 2014, 03:40 PM
Olive harvesting usually starts in November, but as you've said, it's an approximate date, since it depends on weather, olive variety and may change according to different locations. I think if you're coming in late October and will stay for a few weeks, you'll be able to assist or take part in the olive harvesting.
Did you know that Sting has a huge country estate in Tucany? This year he has invited all people and tourists to pick olives in his estate on payment, have a look at this article:
I think it would be really great to experience!!
Where I live (in the province of Pistoia), olives are picked starting from early November, usually by hand, with the help of a net placed on trees' feet for collecting olives.
In occasion of the olives harvesting, farms use to celebrate the olio nuovo, the new extra virgin olive oil, so there are plenty of folkloristic events all around Tuscany. If you want to enjoy the authentic and pure new oil taste, the classic fettunta is what you need to look for: it's a slice of roasted bread with a bit of garlic, salt, pepper and new oil: since Tuscan bread is unsalted, you'll have the chance to taste the pure essence of Tuscan extra virgin olive oil.
Have a look at this article about Autumns tastes, you'll find some suggestions on all seasonal events (related to wine, oil, mushrooms, chestnuts and all typical Autumn products of Tuscany):
My grandma used to prepare several Tuscan soups during this period,like zuppa di cavolo nero (cabbage soup), zuppa alla frantoiana (seasonal vegetables soup), since they have to be eaten with a bit of new oil added once already served, so it's another perfect way to taste the new oil.
September 23, 2014, 07:44 AM
Unfortunately, we will be on our way back home the last week of October....
Fresh Olives, and fresh pressed oil, is something we are cruelly deprived of here. Fettunta sounds like a bit of heaven..
I saw the Blog concerning Sting, and his pay to Olive harvest idea. LOL!!!
We do that here, for the city folks that Resort here. They pay to come pick their own fruit.
It's a pretty good deal for the grower, as the tourists will pay more to pick, than the fruit sells for at market.
It beats managing a crew picking by hand, and really beats getting the mechanical harvester stuck dozens of times.
Sting is no Dummy.
People fall in love with your home and traditions, and taking part in the harvest just deepens their connection.
The concept will probably catch on real well with the smaller growers, that can accommodate the visitors. Americans especially like that sort of thing it seems.
Thank you again for the help and advice!!
October 6, 2014, 12:19 PM
We hope that the idea does catch up with the smaller growers, Sting is certainly no dummy at all - the small growers just have to be better at selling their "experience" as well, and having better "rates" is certainly part of the appeal .
October however is a great time for other fruits of the forest - we've seen truffles and mushrooms popping up fresh at restaurants this weekend and weekends here you might find several chestnut ("castagne") food festivals. Most events are concentrated on the weekends so you'll find something for sure, especially if you travel up the Apennines.