Whilst we are busy renovating Casale San Pietro, we have completed our first olive harvest – this is something totally new to to Joe and me and has been a huge learning curve. It has been fantastic to experience; Casale San Pietro has 8 acres of olive groves, with two types of olive trees, Idriana and olive olio . There is quite a difference between the trees, the Idriana are situated on the hillside between the hundreds of rocky outcrops. Olive trees like the rocks as they help drainage.
We started on a beautiful sunny morning, bright and early, with a team of six people to pick all the olives by hand and collect into the nets! What an amazing team, experienced, fast and fun. The great picnic lunch helps, laid out on long trestle tables in the olive grove with a selection of cold meats, fresh cheeses, fresh bread, pizza, fruit and of course great local wine.
It took 5 days to pick all the olives before they went off to the Frantoio to be pressed and wow, what a great experience to see the olive pressing. Walking into the Frantoio, the aroma of freshly pressed olive oil greets you. It smells divine. People are sitting waiting for their olives to be pressed, whilst others are sharing their already-pressed olive oil on pieces of bread with a little slurp of wine!! It is such an uplifting experience. Our olives went through the 6 stages of pressing and out came the bright green olive oil, which I can only describe as pure nectar. I tasted it in a small cup as it poured out of the final press. It is delicious just drunk on its own.
Our first harvest delivered 800 litres of superb olive oil. Joe and I wondered how on earth we would sell 800 litres of oil, would we need to market it? Did we need to go to a cooperative? But oh no, word spread very quickly that we had excellent olive oil and within one week we had sold almost 600 litres. We are now turning people away; after all, we need to keep some for ourselves and some for our guests to purchase and enjoy.
We have had an extremely successful first year, and the olive harvest has been such an enjoyable experience that we want to share it next year. We are going to host an Olive Party Weekend for guests to witness the process, visit the Frantoio and, most importantly, enjoy the food and wine and taste the oil. If you would like to be the first guests to experience this great weekend just contact us.