October Sunshine Brings Dalmatian Families Together: the Olive Harvest!

Total Croatia News

I really did marry into the perfect family in Dalmatia. My wife is wonderful of course, and I still can’t believe she has put up with me for more than ten years of marriage, but perhaps this can be explained by the two fabulous daughters we have been blessed with. Meanwhile, in the apartment below, live my delightful parents-in-law, both of whom have welcomed me into their family and accepted the eccentric ways of this foreigner over the years, without question.

They don’t ask much from me, but are full of giving, but there is one time every year that they are grateful for help, even if they would never ask for it. It usually happens in late October or early November.  

As I looked out of the Total Hvar terrace this morning, I knew that today was the day – the start of the olive harvest!

As with most families on the island, my father-in-law makes his own wine and olive oil, and in order to do the latter, he needs some help picking the olives.  

This year is the first that my mother-in-law is not around, but she has been replaced by my younger brother-in-law who is on holiday from working on the cruise ships. As with almost all Dalmatians, there is a bond with the field, and he was the first to volunteer for the important position in the middle of the tree, reaching out for those less accessible pieces of natural goodness. His presence was all the more welcome by the fact that he had brought a rather nice young Russian lady along, and Julia proved to be a star worker throughout the day, having been given an olive picking course by my 8 year-old daughter before we started.  

My father-in-law marshalled his troops superbly, and was soon picking more than his own fair share.

One of the nicest things about the olive harvest for me is that it brings generations of the same family together in a (usually) very relaxed environment, where everyone can go at their own pace, and some jobs are best done by the little ones, such as separating the leaves from the picked olives prior to pressing. 

Hvar in mid-October – a natural paradise.  

And just to prove that this correspondent picked an olive or three…  

Just one of the crates of olives picked on this, day one. There are 80 trees in the family field, and I have the feeling I will be getting to know each one intimately.

Part of the hard working team at the end of Phase One of the day. 

Phase Two is much more fun, and much more antcipated – the feeding of the workers, and Dad-in-Law Franko did the team proud with a welcoming fire in his cosy komin.

Salad preparations…

Essential ingredients arrived from all quarters.

Let the grilling commence!

Fresh salad, fresh bread, a selection of meat, and plenty of home-made wine of course – a feast fit for kings, and also tired olive pickers. 

An excellent effort, encouraging us all that tomorrow will be just as much fun as today. To be continued until the last of the 80 trees has been picked. 


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