An amazing olive harvest
Updated: Dec 15, 2022
The olive harvest in Kythera island begins in late November when the summer visitors begin their way home, and lasts until the end of January / beginning of February. In these months the locals and visitors in many spots of the island, is in a state of vibrant activity.
Modern harvesting methods, as are usual in Italy, or in Spain, do not work here in southern Greece. Powerful harvesting equipment like the machines that shake the whole tree or those that ‘swallow’ it cannot be used in Kythera, as most Koroneiki trees are simply too old, too gnarled and deeply rooted.
In addition, the slopes are so steep from about 200-300 meters altitude to sea level and the paths so stony that the use of large agricultural vehicles is unthinkable. Here, the harvested olives are taken to the mill on small tractors, carts, or even family cars! To pick the olives from the trees, gentle and labor-intensive methods are applied.
Large and small nets are placed under the olive trees, and the olives are hand-picked from the branches. This method is indeed the gentlest possible, but very time-consuming. Some elementary harvest aids employed can be long bamboo sticks, rakes and small portable machines with spinning rubber ‘fingers’ that shake the olives from the branches.
After only a few hours from the moment the olives were separated by their tree, the bright green oil runs out of the mill. The year of 2022 is a rich year, for olive oil production in Greece, and Kythera island follow.
Pictures for this year harvest.
(c) Adamadia Heltzou,