Preparing for the olive harvest on Crete: Every year, farmers are looking forward to the moment the olive factories open their doors. This is also for us the sign that we can start harvesting the olives. Usually this is by the end of November and we harvest our olives sometime in December. The beginning of November we finish the tourist season and we take a month the time for a short break and preparing the equipment and other items for harvesting the olives. For example, we check the nets to ensure that there are no large holes. And does the generator start to give power to the harvester which beats the olives from the trees? Are the rubbers still turning at the ends of those harvester sticks? These are all important components for harvesting olives on Crete.
November on Crete
It is early November on Crete and the last tourists have just left. Time for some relaxation or so we thought; to our surprise, everywhere in our area on the north coast of the island, we see that olives are already being harvested. That is a month earlier than we are used to! We meet a befriended farmer and he tells us that the olive factory in North Crete has been open for more than 2 weeks and that is why the harvest can start. We have to think about this for a moment, because maybe it is even more sensible to wait a while longer?
Harvesting olives in November or not
Some experienced farmers have told us in the past, that if the olives hang in the trees a little longer, they will produce more oil after some rain. In general it might rain sometimes in November, so this would benefit our olives. The farmer we are talking to, confirms this, but also says that this year the olives are heavier than usual and have already matured enough. According to him, the month of November is known for the strong wind blowing over the island. Because of that strong wind, many ripe olives fall from the trees. The olives that fall prematurely out of the tree cannot be used to produce olive oil. He also says that just one storm will be enough to lose all our olives and therefore we should not wait any longer to start harvesting the olives. We decide to harvest our olives soon.
Information about harvesting olives on Crete: Olives have to be harvested at the right time to obtain the largest possible amount of oil without increasing the acidity. The experienced olive grower knows exactly when the olives should be harvested. It is true that if olives are picked too early, they may not contain oil. But on the other hand, if the olives ripen too long the oil volume continues to increase, but also the acidity. This has therefore a negative influence on the quality of the olive oil. Read on this page more about the harvesting olives on Crete.