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Photo Article from the Greek Hovel: the last day of the olive harvest 2023

Tom Winnifrith
Sunday 10 March 2024

The last day was, of course, back in December. But for some reason these photos slipped down my mental rabbit hole. So here goes, the memory has not gone completely. 

The harvest was, as you may remember a washout. All over Greece yields were down by 50%. Some folks were unscathed others like me and pickers T and J really struggled to find olives to pick. Patches closer to the village where there is irrigation were fine. My trees up on the hill with no water just got too thirsty in the summer and there were no olives on most trees. Before any global warming nutters get too excited, overall rainfall levels for the year were not that abnormal but in a couple of the summer months there was no rain when there is normally a bit and temperatures were higher than normal though lower than in some years before climate change started. Or didn’t.

Anyhow we bagged up three and a half sacks and took them to the village press. When all was done T&J took home half a litre of oil each and I took home ten, as opposed to my normal fifteen. The rest I sold to the press at 7 euro a litre. In 2022 we earned 2.5 euro a litre but had so much more to sell.  And then with time to kill we set a bonfire to burn off those branches we had chopped off before Nicho the Communist could see any evidence of our “crimes.”

We had time to kill so quick had been the harvest. We had a few long lunches with mad lefties L&G, doing the Guardian quiz. T &J are jolly useful quizzers and L&G were happy to boast to their fellow Guardian readers in the Mani of how they were suddenly recording record high scores. I caught up on a bit of work, we paid homage to Paddy Leigh Fermor in Kardamili and then it was time to head back to Airstrip One.

The 2024 harvest will be better. It cannot be worse. T says that he will be coming yet again and J might well be there too. If you fancy joining us, drop me an email. 

And if you wish to stay at the Greek Hovel outside of olive picking season it is available for rent all year round. The pool opens on May 1 and stays open until October 31. Direct flights to Kalamata (fifty minutes drive away) start in late April but Athens airport is only three and a half hours drive away. Rental details and photos of the hiuse in and out are HERE.

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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.
[email protected]
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