The olive harvest has started but this year it is complete chaos because of lack of capacity at the mills. We heard from our friends that they delivered their crop with a reservation just before midnight and returned home with their oil at 3 in the morning. Another friend has an appointment to deliver at 2.20 am. When we tried to get a booking at that mill the first available appointment was 10 December.
Our nearest mill, not in our village as both those mills are closed, isn’t taking bookings. It was the same last year, we queued 3 hours to deliver the olives and didn’t get our oil for another 3 days. When I contacted them this year they again said no bookings, I expected they will only allow as many people as they can process to queue and turn the rest away. We spoke to someone recently who said it’s the same everywhere and it’s so sad. Producing your own pure oil locally is totally sustainable. One of the mills in our village was a co operative run for the members, and the oil was processed in the traditional cold press way. They closed several years ago. The other was a modern centrifugal system, we were processed in a few hours. Its short sighted to close these places, particularly the co operative. They say people just want to buy their oil at the supermarket, the waiting lists and queues contradict that and everyone knows the stuff on the shelves is rubbish no matter what it says on the label.
It’s a desperate situation, our area is covered in olive groves, every family has land with trees yet it’s impossible to process the harvest. We didn’t know what to do, though MrFF insisted we keep picking, after three days of hard work we could do no more.
This morning MrFF was up before 6 to go to queue at the mill, not knowing what time they would open as the refused to respond to our enquiries. He arrived before 6.30, the gates locked and no queue, however a notice said they would open at 8.30, by which time one other person had joined him to wait. He delivered 159 kilos of olives, beautifully cleaned by me, the oil should be ready tonight or tomorrow.We could hardly believe it was that simple, how can one mill have a 6 week wait yet MrFF only waited two hours. Admittedly he wasn’t able to watch the process, we shall have to chance getting our own oil back, but he was home in time for breakfast.