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Photo Article from the Greek Hovel - a pointer to the Olive harvest this December

Tom Winnifrith
Thursday 24 August 2023

Our lunatic lefty friend L was clear: everyone says the olive harvest this year will be terrible, almost not worth doing. L likes bad news as it provides him with an opportunity to blame it on the Tories, Brexit, Global Warming, Donald Trump, the Daily Mail or Russia. In this case it is global warming and the hot weather and lack of rain this summer. But before I panicked as Jeremiah continued his monologue I needed to look for myself. For, this December, four readers of this website have volunteered to join me for a harvest: three returnees and a newbie. 

I should say that the harvest is not going to be great. Last year the trees were dripping with olives so it was always going to be a bad follows good year. The summer heat was not – as the BBC might tell you – enough to turn Greece to a crisp. It was above average in these parts but not that much. there has not been enough rain. The trees live on very little but this year there has been very very little in the summer. Since arriving I have been taking out a large pink plastic bucket and giving the trees a bucket full to drink. But I have 250 trees so most will still go thirsty. I do not fancy carrying a heavy bucket into the long snake grasses.

And there are flies which lay their eggs in olives so destroying berries that are affected. This is not a bad fly year but there are flies. One day’s rain and we’d be saved but the forecast is not good.

So harvesters, you can see that there are olives. Some trees look worth matting up and harvesting in the tradional way. On others we will just cut the odd branch. The one below is near the house and is the one that Joshua and I nourish in the way that only a man can. So maybe it is blessed in that regard. Three of the trees I had moved to build the pool and to expand the house are, for the first time, bearing fruit which is very pleasing. 

But I fear that many trees are essentially empty. I will come because we will have enough to harvest and any oil sold will fetch a cracking price given the general scarcity. And I shall come for the experience of sitting in what was Miranda’s amid the smell of nicotine, ouzo and tsipero with the other harvesters from the village buying each other drinks and sharing battle stories. I shall enjoy the odd looks we get when returning harvester R declines to drink and then asks what the vegetarian option is on the menu. R has legendary status in Kambos, they think he is really weird but in a good way. as ever, I will also need to check on running repairs at the house ahead of next summer’s rental season. The faulty aircon control box in the rat room has still not been replaced after four months of nagging. I need to stay on the case.  Otherwise, having got the carpenter to visit to repaid a faulty window and rehang a mirror in the bat room ,the house is an amazing nick.

Guests have smashed a few wine glasses but I brought new ones from Wales so all is in order and bookings for next year, or even this October when the pool could be kept open, can be made HERE  

As for the harvest: we will not make much in the way of actual money this year. For that I am braced. It is all about the experience.


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About Tom Winnifrith
Tom Winnifrith is the editor of When he is not harvesting olives in Greece, he is (planning to) raise goats in Wales.
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