Cortona Olive Picking: Helping Friends

10 Nov

Today, while taking our usual walk through the parterre and then around the bend, we heard voices coming from below the hill. We knew at once it was people picking olives at Casale della Torre, the Agriturismo operated by friends Lapo and Paola. We walked down the winding road and saw Ilaria in a tree… “Possiamo aiutare?”  (Can we help?) we called out. We knew the answer would be yes.

©Blogginginitaly.com

©Blogginginitaly.com

We spent the rest of the day with Ilaria and some of her relatives and family friends, talking, laughing, and enjoying the incredible autumn day as we picked various shades of olives. Except for Ilaria, none of them spoke English, but that didn’t matter as we shared a common language in the effort.

Two of the men were in the trees, expertly cutting and dropping large branches, from which we would remove the olives. Apparently, those involved deemed Len and I expert enough from our previous work as no one gave us additional pointers. (I did notice, however, that Ilaria occasionally checked to be certain we left no olives on the branches!)

©Blogginginitaly.com

©Blogginginitaly.com

One of the things I love about working with Italians is their love of the land. The olives vary among the trees, large riper ones easy to remove and others, still small and green, a bit harder. At each tree where the olives were large and very ripe, they would be delighted and describe them as incredible, beautiful, etc,  still having appreciation for nature after picking olives for more than 40 years.

©Blogginginitaly.com

©Blogginginitaly.com

We worked several trees at once, and after a tree was picked, the olives would be gathered and the nets would be moved to the next tree. “Corragio, avanti” they would say after the tiring day got long…have courage and move on (to the next tree!)

©Blogginginitaly.com

©Blogginginitaly.com

©Blogginginitaly.com

©Blogginginitaly.com

After a bit, it was time for a “simple” pranzo, so we gathered in the cantina to enjoy pici with pork and bread with the new oil they had already harvested. As always, a lovely, fresh, and delicious meal, shared among friends.

©Blogginginitaly.com

©Blogginginitaly.com

©Blogginginitaly.com

©Blogginginitaly.com

©Blogginginitaly.com

©Blogginginitaly.com

Afterward, it was back to work.

©Blogginginitaly.com

©Blogginginitaly.com

Sunshine, new and old friends, working the land. An American friend recently commented that we work hard and pursue our careers in order to have the opportunity to return to our roots and understand the land of our ancestors. Well said, Jean. So true and so rewarding, and exactly why we keep coming back.

Ciao,
Judy

6 Responses to “Cortona Olive Picking: Helping Friends”

  1. John Volpe November 10, 2015 at 4:07 PM #

    Oh my God! I could just about taste those pici- at least in my dreams. Mamma mia che bella vita!

    Liked by 1 person

    • blogginginitaly November 11, 2015 at 3:28 AM #

      You need to do this with us…not just the eating but the olive picking too!

      Like

  2. jean November 10, 2015 at 4:55 PM #

    Oh Judy and Len, we are so happy you were there to help Lapo and Paola. We felt so guilty because they were just starting the day we left but next year we plan to be there twice as long so count us in!
    I’m e-mailing you separately my audition for olive picker that I made with Lapo, which might give you a laugh. Next year I’m going to make him keep to his promise to let me drive his tractor 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • blogginginitaly November 11, 2015 at 3:30 AM #

      Hmmm, tractor driving…I’ll have to look into that myself since I am told I am a great driver in Italy! A bit of a size adjustment from my 500 🙂

      Like

      • jean November 11, 2015 at 11:18 AM #

        On second thought I’ll let YOU drive the tractor, Judy. I couldn’t navigate those Cortona streets the way you do.

        Liked by 1 person

  3. karenincalabria November 11, 2015 at 4:42 AM #

    Wonderful pictures topped off by another great meal!

    Liked by 1 person

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