The harvest of the olives on Crete.
The harvest of the olives starts at the beginning of November. They try to avoid the rainy days. Usually a team consists of four to five persons. This is an easy number, because everybody will then have a task.
What needs to be done? One or two persons make sure that the netting is neatly placed and organized underneath the trees. This is quite a heavy job because one has to move and drag the netting the whole day and make sure no olives are lost when they fall next to the netting. Two persons hit the olives off the tree.
The tool that is used to do this with is a combination of a broom stick with the handle of a shovel attached to it. On the top of the broom a kind of paint roller with hard strips of plastic of about 20 cm long is attached. A mechanic motor is making the roller spin, wherefore the plastic strips move in a rapid pace and hit the olives off the branches. During this process special attention is paid to the fact that not too many branches break. Therefore, it is more sufficient to let the roller with the ‘broom stick walk’ over the branches. This way it is less heavy, because stiff muscles are guaranteed, especially during the first days.
A third person will collect the olives by simply picking up the netting. He throws the olives and leaves in a portable separator, where most of the leaves and branches will be separated from the olives. Underneath this separator hangs a Hessian sack to catch the olives. The bag is closed and put on the pick up, which is also quite a heavy job, because a back usually ways about 10 to 15 kilo.
Next, the bags are taken to the olive factory where they will be pressed as soon as possible. The longer the olives lie around without getting pressed, the worse the quality will be. In an olive factory people therefore work day and night.