Olive picking on Korcula island

A year passed since the first olive picking experience here on Korcula island. In the meantime, olive oil originating from Korcula island got recognized and protected as a unique and specific olive oil at an EU level through a Protected Designation of Origin -PDO- scheme. It is a scheme which identifies products that are produced, processed and prepared in a specific geographical area, using the recognised know-how of local producers and ingredients from the region concerned. It is not a small thing for an island, island producers and island economy at all!

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Olive grove on Korcula island where the scarce earth has been utilized to its maximum
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Olive tree ready for the harvest
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On the way to the oil mill
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Colors of olive oil produced on Korcula island

Photographs courtesy of Mihovil Depolo from Olives harvest 2016.

Last year, Time Spent In Korcula was invited to pick olives in Gradina bay on Korcula island with Cetinic family. That is when we were in a company of pater familius, a 77 year-old retired local reporter who confirmed an information heard prior how Vela Luka on Korcula island is a Dalmatian municipality with largest number of olive trees. Back then, we learned many other things too regarding the science of olive picking and olive oil making on Korcula island.

Apparently, on whole of island Korčula there are around 4 or 5 different sorts of olives. The best olive oil you get from which sort? Well, as we were told, drobnica is highly valued but it is also a tree that doesn’t endure heat very well. Still, the best olive oil, as we were told, comes from the mixture of several different types of olive sorts.

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Wonder how long it took for 3 men, 2 women and a 5 year old child to pick 60 kilos of  olives at a rather slow pace and with a small help of modern equipment? Around 1,30 to 2 hours per olive tree. How much oil can you get from 60 kilos of olives? Once taken to the oil mill , the usual calculation has it that you take 12% of the total weight and that is how much olive oil you will get. So, back to the question, how much oil can one get from 60 kilos of olives? Two bags, each weighing 30 kilos amount to 7, 20 litres of olive oil. Why a good olive oil, especially if it is coming from a smaller producer is so expensive, guess we know now. Just as we also found out how the value of olive oil and trade was measured back in the days – a liter or two of olive oil for a kilo or two of honey!

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