Tuesday, November 02, 2004

Collecting olives in Istria

One of the Istrian “Trade Marks” are olives, olive oil, and especially old olive trees. If You drive around Istria, You can see olive trees all around. They were planted and cultivated by our elders, who lived from them, as they lived from vineyards. It is sad that in last 40 – 50 years, many olive yards were ruined or abandoned by their owners, but it is good that in last few years many of them are reassuming their cultivation, and people are planting new olives too.
By the Years specific, rough form of olive trees and vines has become symbol of hard work that Istrian man, farmer, had to do in struggling for everyday bread. But also, it symbolized all beauty, majesty and health of Istrian man living in conjunction with nature. Below is picture of an more than 1600 years old olive tree found on Island of Brijuni!

(source: istrianet.org)
Today, in most of cases, olive plants are not like this. You can see such olive trees in old olive yards, but newly planted olives their owners keep short and small, because of easy olive collecting. Once, people has kept them high, because they had goats: goats where eating grass under olives, fertilizing the land in the same time. Or, because they tried to utilize every inch of land more possible: people were planting something under the olives. So you can see vineyards which are in the same time olive yards: olives and vines “living” together. In such way Istrian man has utilized land better, in the same way saving on land cultivation, hard work of man and animal that had to be done only once, instead of double work for separate yards. Today it is not so important because of mechanization.
So, this weekend we’ve begun collecting olives, with great weather (high temperatures) which is beneficial factor, because low temperatures and rain can make olive collection very long and painful process. On the other hand, such high temperatures are all but normal for this period, so in effect I don’t think they are very good. Probably it's real and obvious proof of climate changes that world is going trough due to man’s impact. Temperatures above 20 degrees Celsius are expected for all this week, it is incredibly hot, and sea temperature is about 19 degrees Celsius. One month ago I’ve wrote that there is still a time to take the bath, but the same can be applied today also(I’ve tried it last week when sea was even colder)! I hope to not repeat same next month!


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