The olive harvest in Tuscany begins in late October and early November, just when the olives have reached their perfect stage of ripeness—actually a little under-ripe as they turn from green to black. It’s called invaiatura in Italian, veraisonin English.
At Villa Campestri, we harvest all our olives by hand. It takes longer than using machines but we’re convinced from years of experience that it’s less stressful for the trees and, equally important, there’s less risk of damage to the olives. Meaning, of course, a higher quality of extra-virgin oil.
For harvesting, we use a comb, a plastic instrument that looks much like a giant hair comb. It slides along the branches and pulls the olives off without damaging the leaves or the tree. The olives drop gently to a net spread beneath the tree and when the net is full, the olives are brought immediately to the mill or frantoio right here on the estate.
Like all conscientious growers, we press our olives within 24 hours (and often much less) of harvest. That’s the only way to get an oil that tastes and smells of the full, fresh, complex fragrance of the olives themselves.
The olive harvest lasts about a month. We have to finish before the arrival of cold weather at the end of November; otherwise, there is a risk of damage to the olives.
To see a video of the olive harvest at Villa Campestri Olive Oil Resort, click on our, click on our channel youtube.