‘Ode To Olive Oil’ by Pablo Neruda

Ode To Olive Oil

Near the murmuring
In the grain fields, of the waves
Of wind in the oat-stalks
The olive tree
With its silver-covered mass
Severe in its lines
In its twisted
Heart in the earth:
The graceful
By the hands
Which made
The dove
And the oceanic
Of nature
And there
The dry
Olive Groves
The blue sky with cicadas
And the hard earth
The prodigy
The perfect
Of the olives
With their constellations, the foliage
Then later,
The bowls,
The miracle,
The olive oil.
I love
The homelands of olive oil
The olive groves
Of Chacabuco, in Chile
In the morning
Feathers of platinum
Forests of them
Against the wrinkled
Mountain ranges.
In Anacapri, up above,
Over the light of the Italian sea
Is the despair of olive trees
And on the map of Europe
A black basketfull of olives
Dusted off by orange blossoms
As if by a sea breeze
Olive oil,
The internal supreme
Condition for the cooking pot
Pedestal for game birds
Heavenly key to mayonaise
Smoothe and tasty
Over the lettuce
And supernatural in the hell
Of the king mackerals like archbishops
Our chorus
Powerful smoothness
You sing:
You are the Spanish
There are syllables of olive oil
There are words
Useful and rich-smelling
Like your fragrant material
It’s not only wine that sings
Olive oil sings too
It lives in us with its ripe light
And among the good things of the earth
I set apart
Olive oil,
Your ever-flowing peace, your green essence
Your heaped-up treasure which descends
In streams from the olive tree.

Harvest is here!

We’ve been harvesting….

As November turns to December, and the Greek sun starts to lose its heat, our olives here in Messinia are ready to be picked. The whole landscape is dotted with olive trees… some old, gnarly and with eccentric personalities, and others young, tall, and proud. The olive pickers are just as much a mixed bag, and the groves around our home come alive with the sound of trees being combed, and pickers old and young coming out of the woodwork, discussing how best to harvest this year’s bounty of koroneiki olives. Soon the air even tastes of fresh olive oil; like the sharp scent of fresh cut grass.


Once the olives have been collected in large sacks, each farmer brings them to the village press to see them squeezed immediately into fresh extra virgin olive oil.

It’s been a family effort this year again, with long days combing the trees and plenty of picnic lunches in the groves, and nightly we’re all left feeling tired and healthy.
The first taste of our fresh pressing, drenched on a piece of thick homemade bread is one of the best meals of the year!

Olive Harvesting for Beginners

Olive Harvesting for Beginners.
By Rory Cooper

Back in England, whenever people quizzed us about what we wanted to do while travelling, our first answer was always the same ‘we want to help out on an olive harvest in Greece’. I’ve no idea where the idea came from or who had it first but it’s one of the only things Juliet and I have ever agreed on so wholeheartedly, so we definitely had to do it. It was probably that we knew we’d be setting off at around the time that the olive harvests started in Greece and so we thought it would be easy to find a host who’d feed us and give us somewhere to stay in return for picking a few olives.

Our host Patrick told us the date that the harvest would start and volunteers started to turn up just in time for the big event, some were travellers such as ourselves, some were friends , others friends of friends, until the house was seemingly teeming with people and the day grew closer. Everywhere you looked across the panoramic view of the Greek countryside white columns of smoke from the olive branch fires billowed into the sky, signifying that in that particular grove harvesting was already in full swing.
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A recluse on the loose

A recluse on the loose.

Tim’s account a la Dr. Suess

In the far south of Greece
lives the Peloponesse
where upon the sea breeze
grow green olive trees.
And there in the shade
of a mountain is made,
the oil of Villa Kitrini.

After crossing the sea, it was late in the day
I arrived in the town where soon I would stay.
Three in the front, we climbed rocky miles
Pat at the wheel, me and Robyn who smiles.
We opened the door, and though the hour was late
I met Heidi and Sarance and King Louis the Great.
The mad ruler of Villa Kitrini.

Why was I there?
What good could I do?
And why were Sara and Terance here too
where upon the sea breeze green olive trees grow?
Helpx is a website.
Visit it, they know.
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Bigbarn article

Article about us from Bigbarn, November 2013

Amidst the bad press surrounding the olive oil industry, two brothers in their mid twenties intend to set the record straight, and have established Honest Toil Olive Oil, bringing unrefined 100% pure extra virgin olive oil from Greece to the UK. As they are keen to tell me, this is not like the olive oil you can buy in the average UK supermarket.
“Most olive oils are ‘blended’ from all over Europe. What this really means, is that companies often use Greek oil to lower the acidity content of naturally inferior but cheaper olive oils from other parts of Europe. ‘Made in Italy’ does not necessarily mean any more than ‘bottled in Italy’ and it’s extremely common that such oils contain produce from Tunisia, Spain, Greece, and Morocco.
With Honest Toil, we wanted to keep it simple; pure unadulterated, single-estate squashed olives, and bring to the UK an oil that’s unlikely to previously have left the kitchens of small-time Greek farmers…”
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