When olive oil is fresh from the press, I could eat a whole loaf of bread soaked in it. I have no basis for comparison, but to me, our oil is the perfect combination of bitter, spicy, and fragrant. It is one of the few things that makes this place livable.
This year we’re having a record yield. There are still olives on the trees, but we’ve already pressed more twice the amount of oil we did last time, which was two years ago. We’re left wondering whether this is an extraordinary year or whether the people who harvested for us back then were moonlighting as thieves of olives. The truth is probably somewhere in between the two, though closer to the side that has nothing to do with Mother Nature.
This year’s harvesters, the parents of one of N’s friends, have been honest, but where olive oil is concerned, there’s always some kind of fregatura (rip-off). One day the aunt went up to Campo di Pere and asked our friends to pick the olives off one of her trees. They hesitated, but she insisted, saying that it was only one tree, and that it wouldn’t take very long. They followed her, only to discover that she wanted them to pick the olives from several trees. When they told her that they didn’t want to pick any more because they were supposed to be picking our olives, she lied and told them that her trees were part of the agreement.
A week of rain followed the two days they worked on the aunt’s land, with olives that should have already been picked falling from our trees all the while. It will be easy to make the aunt will pay for her furbizia, as she did not think to keep her olives separate from ours. They all went off together to the press, and all the oil came back in our canisters. We’ll give her some when the harvest is finished, but the amount won’t be what her trees yielded.