Last Sunday, we ventured out into the fog and drove thirty minutes out of town to the Delta region of Sacramento. This area reminds me of the south with picturesque farm houses and sprawling farms all along the inland estuary. The delta is the largest estuary in the United States and the surrounding farmland with it’s peat soil is considered the best in the California if not the country.
My friends are lucky enough to have family that live on one of those farms. They primarily grow pears and apples but they recently tried branching out to olive trees. This was the second year that they harvested the olives. The first year they managed to get enough to preserve but this year they had the ambitious goal of making their own olive oil. They were hoping to harvest 400 pounds of olives to make a substantial batch.
A group of us set off with our boxes and started picking around 10:00 a.m. They tried to use tools but we found good old fashioned hard labor was the most efficient method. The neighbor’s scrappy dog supervised the proceedings. He followed us up and down the road enjoying our company. The owners two manx cats took turns keeping my lap warm as I picked olives off a massive tree.
By the afternoon we were half way to our goal. Once the olives were picked they were taken to a olive oil press in Winters. I learned that when making olive oil you must use the olives when 48 hours of picking them.
The olives made it to the press by the end of the day and we should get our own bottle of the olive oil in a week. I can’t wait to sample it. It almost makes me want to get a tree or two of my own.