A guest post from Scott's blog:
Ok, so the olive harvest wasn't that great, many of the olives had been knocked down by the first heavy snows that hit the mountain region the week before. But still, it was my first harvest and therefore the greatest of my experience. We gathered around 600 lbs of olives in 2.5 days of harvesting.
The location was beautiful. We were harvesting trees on a teraced hillside overlooking the ruins of an old monastery with the higher snow capped mountians in the background.
The method of harvesting was to spread out a large net under the tree and using small rakes to comb the olives into the net. The net was propped up on the downhill side and the olives would gather down there. The higher limbs were reached by a ladder. When the tree was emptied of it's olives, we would gather up the net on the high side and funnel everything to the bottom. Then we would pick out the leaves and sticks and place the olives into a burlap bag.
The olives will be taken to an olive press in town and turned into oil. The owner of the trees gets half of the oil, us harvesters will split the rest. It is not a money making venture, but I hear you cannot beat the taste. It was also a way to help, a cultural experience and a chance to practice some language.