Another fall means another olive oil harvest. Matteo Turchi our fantastic groundskeeper did a fabulous job with this year's olive crop. We have just under 100 olive trees but in the winter of 2018 almost a third of the trees were damaged during a week of 20 degree (Fahrenheit) weather and as a result produced no fruit. What remained however was a bumper crop because two years of pruning and care meant that the trees that did produce produced more than ever.
We had a whole team of people to help. Tonino, our tree climber; Matteo, our groundskeeper; Lisa Jane, Matteo's wife and our property manager; Lee and Ed Riddell, Villa Palazzetta partners; and Lee and Ed's friends from North Carolina, Marianne and George Waterhouse. We spent a week picking olives and picked nearly 1000 kilograms of olives.
After everything was picked we loaded up our little Fiat Tipo station wagon and made several trips to the highly regarded Frantoio Franci in Montenero d'Orcia.
You've probably fresh, just-picked corn. It's a totally different thing than what you buy in the supermarket. The same goes for fresh olive oil right out of the press. The flavor literally explodes in your mouth. Fresh pressed olive oil with pinzimonio (fresh raw vegetables) and fresh-baked bread is the way to go. Try it some day!
Nets are placed under the trees to catch the olives that are stripped from the branches.
Olives and scooped into buckets and transferred to baskets to take to the frontoio.
After all that, you get the most beautiful and tasty oil you can possibly imagine.
Here's the pressing process, start to finish.