~If you have ever wondered how the very best organic olive oil is produced, take a peek at the heartwarming video posted below.~
There is nothing quite as thrilling as starting a new venture. Something that takes you out of your comfort zone. Something that can simultaneously excite and terrify you. A project that wakes you at 3am with a never-ending list of tasks, troubles and what-ifs! If you have been following my Tuscan adventure through this blog you will know that I am restoring a 14 bedroom property where I will hold future retreats and events such as corporate getaways, special birthdays and motivational weeks.
Designing and decorating rarely scares me, but farming, well, that leaves me challenged. I can have control over a property and can transform its bones to my vision but the 80 acres that surround our Italian home is an entirely different matter. It doesn't care in the least that its owner is just brilliant at choosing paint colours and designs stunning Christmas decorations! There are about 500 olive trees of all ages and each tree needed to be picked this fall. Following the harvest, the olives must be pressed, bottled and shipped. To any farmer I am sure this is not a daunting task but city folk like Hans and I, well we were a little overwhelmed to say the least. I realized how little I knew about the job ahead of us as I munched into a large fat olive plucked straight from a tree. These are not the succulent olives you enjoy with a chilled glass of Chardonnay, gleaming, slippery and shiny as you pour them out of that supermarket plastic container. No, these olives, taken straight from the tree are hard, bitter and highly inedible. We had a crash-course on how to pick the olives by our resident farmer, Luciano, and then the work began. Nets were laid under the trees. The boys shot up the ladders and me and the other girls stayed on terra firma and tackled the lower branches. As we all found our own rhythms, I have to say this was as near to a spiritual experience I have ever had. The sun filtering through the silvery leaves, the happy chatter of young people all around and the sweet fresh air made for a sense of pure serenity. Long tables were set for typical Tuscan lunches of steaming pasta, grilled artichokes and glasses of crisp rose.
When the trees were completely shed of their harvest, the crates of plump olives were driven off to the mill. Here we bottled our liquid gold and a few weeks later it was being enjoyed by so many of you on this side of the pond. My apologies to everyone who missed out, but there is always next year's harvest to look forward to.
Here's the link. I hope you enjoy this beautiful, emotional stop motion video.
It was produced from thousands of stills by my youngest son, Max Rosenstein.