For us and many others in Kefalonia, the olive crop in 2016 was just about non-existant. So this year in 2017, the expectation was high and not to say – a little bit desperate. We were down to our last litre as were many of our Greek friends. On our return in late September, after some extremely hot summer weeks (with one period of ten days when the daytime temperatures did not fall below 40), we viewed our olives with some despair. The olives were plentiful and on some trees more than plentiful, but the crop was wrinkled and dull. We prayed for rain. Be careful what you wish (pray) for!
Although it did rain a bit in late September and early October, no significant rain fell until the 19th October and did it rain! Hail stones the size of slightly small ping pong balls fell for about five minutes – it made the swimming pool ‘boil’ with water coming over the sides. Boy did it rain and not really what was needed – we lost olives with a fair amount lying under the trees. However, within three or four days the olives were plumped up and looking shiny and healthy and with the addition of a bit more rain, the olives looked ready for picking in the second week of November. We were ready too!
However, the weather wasn’t! Storms (and I do mean storms – very exciting thunder and prize winning lightening) arrived on consecutive days often going on all night. But in Kefalonia just two hours can make a big difference and with light winds the olives were soon dry enough to pick. The dry hours also gave us enough time to prune all the trees as well, cutting off branches still with their olives so we could bring them undercover to pick when it was wet.
So …. after a maddening time of uncertain weather, the olive harvest was ‘in’!
We picked 10 sacks of olives from 22 olive trees. 404 kgs of olives produced 60 kgs of olive oil or 85.71 litres of olive oil! 15% yield. Very happy with the result!