’tis the season once again

November 5, 2013 / Local Interest
Le Marche

Get ready for some delicious bruschette. Olive season is upon us!

If you live out in the country like me, this time of year it’s all you talk about and all you hear about from friends, family, even fellow moms picking up their kids from school.

“Have you picked yet?”
“How many quintali did you get?” (A quintale equals 100 kgs, ca. 212 lbs.)
“What’s your yield this year?” (liters of oil per kg. of olives)
“This year the olives are smaller/bigger, don’t you think?”
And how can we forget the most worrisome thing about olive season: “Quest’anno è passata “la mosca”!” (that darn insect that likes to drill holes into my precious olives, making them shrivel up and fall off the plant . . . argh!)


Olives are picked by hand or with the help of a tool that shakes the branches so that the olives fall onto nets that you’ve strategically placed under the tree. Picking is time-comsuming but it’s all worth it to have your very own cold pressed Extra Virgin Olive Oil. Olive oil is in basically every single Italian recipe, a true staple of the Mediterranean diet, therefore it simply has to be good. The best oil is obtained by the “metodo a freddo” (usually never over 80 °F / 27 °C), which presses the olives while keeping acidity low and retaining essential vitamins and nutrients.


If you don’t have olive trees, never fear. You can bring your own glass bottle and fill up directly at the frantoio (mill). The one in my neighborhood sells this year’s olive oil for 8 Euros per litre. Hurry while supplies last (and before the end of November, when Mario closes up the frantoio until next year)!

Buona degustazione! (Happy tasting!)



Enrica Frulla

by Enrica Frulla

Enrica was born in Italy, raised in the United States and is now living in Senigallia, on the coast of the beautiful Le Marche region. A marketing consultant in a past life, Enrica is now a freelance translator. Recently, her creativity and passion for telling people what to do has also  “translated” into an event planning business. www.besteventlab.com

11 Responses to “’tis the season once again”

  1. Penny Ewles-Bergeron
    Penny Ewles-Bergeron

    ‘The Good Life’ would be unimaginable without delicious, magical olive oil. Thanks for this inspiring note and the lovely photos.

  2. Enrica, Coming from an Italian American family I have had the pleasures of many things… picking tomatoes off the vine, garlic out of the ground, moving cement statuary for Nona but I have not picked olives… yet!!!
    I still have relatives in Italy though.
    I’ll make a note to come during harvest time so I can experience this.
    I once inquired about planting olive trees here in the USA but I wouldn’t live long enough to see the first harvest.
    Great article, Great pictures. Thank you.

  3. The colour of the flask of oil you show isn’t new oil, a bit misleading to the many people who follow ‘Notebook’ and don’t have the opportunity to see ‘proper’ new oil! Check out my latest post about picking our olives

  4. Enrica Frulla
    Enrica Frulla

    Thanks, Penny! Tom, we are always looking for volunteeers!! Christina, the oil in the flask is green 2013 oil, but I am no photographer and here it looks yellowish.

  5. Linda Boccia

    I work for an Italian winery in Sonoma Valley in California and we have a community olive press. This past weekend hundreds of pounds, not chilos here, were crushed and the people bringing their pick will be able to get their pounds of first press olive oil. Yes, we are picking here and the same Mediterrean fruit fly is attacking olives here as well. If they are put into the press they make a bitter and tainted oil.

  6. Gastaldo

    as a side note…..my cousin who used to more than 10 quintalli has stopped picking them because the cost to frantoio is prohibitive and they now prepare enough for their household use.

  7. David Barneby

    Tom , I guess you are not the Tom I know , whose wife has groves of Olives in Tuscany , he always stays at home during pruning and harvesting of Olives .
    His wife invites a group of Americans like you , who want the experience of picking Olives , to come over and stay in Valdarno for a week of most enjoyable hard work . Often the weather is fresh , but warm in the middle of the day . Apart from rustling of the pickers in the trees , there is almost silence save for a nearby church clock that sounds the hour . The view over the valley below is so beautiful and serene . Look up ” Amici ” Olive Oil , you may find the link to be able to join Carolyn and her olive pickers another year .

  8. Anne Robichaud

    Enrica, we’re picking here in the Assisi area this weekend – and cannot wait for the gentle sound of the “plunk, plunk” as the olives hit the bucket tied around my waist
    Enjoyed your good note!

  9. My mother lived in the Puglia Region in 1900. She picked olives as a little child My mother who lived in the Puglia Region in the 1900 picked olives the very same way. Incredible. I would love to join you before I leave this world.

  10. Emily Seawall

    I met a couple years ago that goes to Italy every year to pick and press olives. I have been thinking about doing it myself for a while now, and I think this fall is the time. If you have direct connections to families that would trade a bed, food, and free flowing wine, in exchange for my labor, I would be grateful if you’d send me their contact information. I speak Spanish, so I understand some Italian, but I would happily learn to speak some if Italy is in my near future. Grazie!


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