As the summer draws to a close and the autumn nights become cooler the olives in the groves have begun to ripen. All olives start off green. Some are picked green, especially the varieties that are used as green table olives. Some are left to go that gorgeous black violet colour. The olives in the pictures are of the variety called “Mission.” Mission olives are one of the dominant varieties in California. They were introduced into the USA, via Mexico in 1769. Mission olives can be used for green or black table olives depending on the time of harvesting and can also be used to make oil.
At Riverbend Farm the harvest of the green Manzanilla olives has been completed. The olives are now in their brine tanks undergoing a natural debittering process. The picking process went smoothly over a couple of days in March when our farm workers and their friends and relatives took to the groves. As usual the process was enjoyed by all.
In a few weeks time the first of the oil olives will be harvested. This is a very busy time on the farm for all hands because we run a tight schedule of picking our olives so that no olive sits around in crates for longer than 12 hours before being pressed. As well as milling our olives, our friends and customers are also harvesting their olives and also want them to be milled in our boutique factory as soon as possible after harvest.
Lunches during this period are legendary. This year we have added an upstairs lounge so that we can enjoy our well deserved break with a bottle of wine, delicious salads AND hear each other speak without the interference of the noise of the mill.