Olive Picking in Manisa
The Aegean region is famous for its olives, figs, grapes, cotton, and tobacco. One of our closest friends’ family owns an olive grove, and we joined them last Autumn to help harvest olives. First, we laid down large sheets below the olive trees to collect the olives. After laying the sheets, we shook the trees as hard as we could to bring down as many of the loose olives as possible. Olive tree branches are strong, so it’s tough to break them. Then we started raking olives from the trees just like you brush your hair. Finally, we beat the high branches with sticks to get at the olives which were out of reach. Once we removed all olives from a given tree, we collected any that fell beyond the sheets. We placed all of the olives we gathered into baskets.
After the harvest, the olives are fed into a machine that sorts them by size. The big ones are packaged and sold for eating, and the smaller ones are pressed into olive oil. It was a physical yet rewarding experience.