The olive growing tradition in Istria is more than two millennia old. The first to plant olive groves here were the ancient Romans, who recognised the potential of this fertile region. This is witnessed by archaeological findings of Roman mills and olive presses, as well as amphorae, which were once used to store and transport oil.
When are olives harvested?
Olives are harvested from early October to mid-November, depending on the variety and ripeness. Only healthy olives are picked, and the optimum time for picking is when the olives are mottled in colour. The change in colour means oil has begun collecting in the fruit.
How are olives harvested?
Most olive growers harvest olives manually, while a few use tongs or machines. When picking, one needs to take care not to damage the olives, as this will result in poorer-quality oil. For the best oil, it is recommended that the olives don't fall to the ground – it's better to pick them directly into baskets or collect them from plastic nets spread beneath the tree.
In order to preserve the quality of the fruits, it's best to take them to the oil mill for processing the day they are picked. For this reason, Istrian olive growers often need many pickers, and some of them, like Aminess Hotels & Campsites, offer organised olive picking tours. This is an opportunity to enjoy a meditative experience in contact with these noble trees and to take home the fruits of your labour in a bottle as a gift.
Learn something new about olive oil, which Hippocrates recommended as a treatment for more than 60 diseases. This experience will give you a new perspective on olive oil, allowing you to cherish every last precious drop.
P.S. In order to impress your friends while picking olives, make sure to read how to taste olive oil