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The best olive oil comes from Portugal

It’s that time of year again! Time for the olive harvest.

Time to stand in line for hours or even days at the olive press, and then leave satisfied with your own olive oil

We have-I-don’t-know-how many olive trees on the hill. And a few more down at the campsite. One of them has fully grown, is never pruned because it provides shade over the camping site hangout.

There have been hammock fanatics who came back especially for that hangout spot.

The rest of the trees were treated by Senhor Martins until a few years ago. A neighbor from adjacent Azenha. Tinee tiny village, with a teensy tinsy little chapel in the bend, which hasn’t been open in a hundred years.

Senhor and senhora Martins are real farmers

They have a quintal, a horta (vegetable garden) where they grow everything they eat; they have chickens and sheep, and so eggs, chicks and wool. And mutton which they “create” themselves as well (let’s face reality, all the meat on your plate first lived as an animal).

At first they cleaned and picked by hand, as they always did, but later Senhor Martins had a little device on a stick, which did brrrrrbrrrrrbrrrrr very pleasantly, and which made the olives come down just as easily.

It’s a lot of work, to cause olive oil

Usually it is a group of around 10 people. They first clean the environment, because brambles especially like to grow at the foot of olive trees. They find it pleasant. From there they would like to take over the whole world. They become very annoying if you also want to get near that tree.

Now brambles have a rotten character, so you don’t have to feel guilty that you are a nature destroyer. They have a bad disposition; even dead they still try to make you stumble and humble you. They deserve no better than to be trimmed.

Very different from olive trees, which exude dignity, are generous with their olives (and shade, if given the chance), and seem a bit genteel and timeless

When the underside is clean, large cloths are laid out. Then it goes off with the sticks. The young climb the tree, but usually this is not necessary because they are kept fairly low on purpose. Nowadays only the elderly do this, and they don’t climb so hard anymore…

You also see those brrrbrrr devices. Or vibrating fork-like sticks. It’s all the same idea. Vibrate, agitate, hit, shake, shuffle, jiggle, joggle or wag, – anything to get as many olives down as possible.

These are oil olives. They are too small to eat, although I see the same size everywhere in the shops here, which are sold as eating olives. I’ll just take it from the experts. From these oil olives, you make olive oil.

Senhor and senhora Martins are now too old. I am looking for others who would like to do this under the same conditions. All the oil is for them, but so is all the work.

And I really appreciate extra virgin from our own olives!