“Go pick olives” they (the voices in my head) said. “It’ll be fun” they said.
So off I trot to Sicily to WWOOF on organic farms. It’s a solid trade, you work in exchange for food, a room and the experience of it all. Here is what I learnt:
Olive harvesting is not glamorous.
It’s hot. Even in November, Sicily is hitting highs in the mid 20’s.
It hurts. My back aches, my arms ache. I spend my days staring up into the sun, neck crooked nearly backwards. Right now, I miss a Thai massage more than you can imagine.
It’s hard work. There is none of this cute basket holding olive picking for us. NO. We use a technique which all parents of children with long hair will recognise. We comb the living shit out of the tree.
It’s an adventure. I have been channeling my inner Indiana Jones, swinging through trees, braving killer shrubs, defying falling branches of death, scaling walls and jumping over canals – all in gumboots and men’s jeans. My hands look like they belong to a 90 year old. They feel worse. I look terrible but the olives don’t care.
It’s itchy. There are mosquitoes and flies. Every. Bloody. Where.
However, it’s not all bad. I have a new and profound appreciation of what it takes to make our food. I have acquired a bunch of information about olives: grading, harvesting, pressing, preparation. My arms look like I have been pumping iron.
In addition, all this staring into the heavens has given me ample time to compose “Olive – The Musical”. Stay tuned for hits such as:
It’s Raining Olives
Here Comes the Olives
Rake You (rake you very, very much)
Collaborators are welcome.