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The traditional olive harvest in Apulia

The traditional olive harvest in Apulia

13.11.2020

Every year in November in Puglia, agricultural activities have recently begun olive harvesting and processing in oil mills. Every year in November begins the most intense phase that continues in December and in particularly fruitful years, it also arrives in January. Every year in November the roads of the countryside and agricultural cities are crossed by intense scents of the first oil squeezing and by the noise of oil machines n movement. And for us, a party really starts!
 
Sometimes I think mother earth has been particularly generous to us Apulians.
 
Just think that 60 million olive trees populate this territory giving the really international primacy and that they return a product of excellence such as extra virgin olive oil. The olive variety depends on the area from north to south of Puglia, from the "Peranzana" in the province of Foggia with a fruitier and refined taste, to the "Coratina" in the sourrindings of Bari area, with an intense scent and a fruity, bitter and "pinched" aftertaste among the cultivars of greatest value, since it is rich in polyphenols and precious organoleptic properties.
 
Then there is in the Fasano area, the "Plain of Monumental Olive trees", majestic olive trees called "Giants" with sculptural shapes, which you can admire even in one of the many tourist treks proposed by environmental guides.
 
The olive tree, is not only a really important economic symbol for the entire supply chain, but it is a symbol of belonging to the peasant tradition that is found in our social life and in our dishes.
 
When the olive reaches its maximum ripening and size,  it is the right time to start harvesting them and for this reason a considerable number of farmers are employed (an important period also for the economy of a family). There are various manual or mechanical techniques to harvest the olives:
 
The "bacchettatura": one of the oldest methods, the trees are shaken by sticks and the olives fall on to nets subsequently harvested. It is no longer used as the fruit is damaged and its quality compromised.
 
The "brucatura": it is a hand harvest directly from the branches, ideal for low plants and guarantees an excellent quality oil as the olive is not damaged in any way.
 
The "pettinatura": in this case a comb-type tool is used passing through the branches and detaches the olives that are harvested from nets not left on the ground but attached to the trees. In this case the quality could be partly compromised.
 
The "scrollatura": which is one of the mechanical techniques, as mechanical arms are used that weakly perch the trunk or branches, not damaging the fruit as in combing. The olives are then always harvested in the nets.
 
All these techniques allow us to grasp the great work and study behind such an important moment, to bring to our tables a product of the highest quality that is usually consumed raw on the dishes of our tradition: vegetables, soups, legumes or a simple bruschetta of bread to release the scents of a real nectar of taste and well-being.
 
Today there are many modern oil mills using machinery where the quality of the product is guaranteed, but there are many ancient farms scattered in Puglia where to admire ancient underground oil mills with stone wheels used for squeezing. These are the ideal places where to learn about the techniques of the old and peasant life in the ancient farms
 
All you have to do is follow one of our itineraries: