The Olive Harvest in Italy

Jimmy thinks I am a little bit crazy, but I told him that one of the reasons that I cannot imagine ever leaving Italy is because of olive oil.

New olive oil is something I look forward to every year.

And ever since I moved here, I have wanted to help with an olive harvest.


So I was super excited when I saw that La Cucina Sabina was hosting a raccolta delle olive – a day of olive picking just outside of Rome. Olive trees

Sara and I took an early train out to Sabina – which is quite hilly and well known for the top quality olive oil that is produced there.


We didn’t waste any time getting involved in the harvest.

It is important not to bruise olives during the harvest because this can lead to decay and turn the oil rancid.

So nets are spread out under each tree and the olives are then raked down by hand.

To speed things up, you can also use a mechanical arm that lightly shakes the tree and forces the ripe olives to fall.

After each tree, the nets are gathered and the olives set side to be taken to the mill as soon as possible.

La Cucina Sabina has a beautiful grove of olive trees, and the owner Giuseppe even pointed out some nearby trees that were hundreds of years old.

In addition to actually picking some of the olives, it was wonderful to simply be outside on such a beautiful fall day.

And who can resist puppies?

After the raccolta, we drove through the countryside to the mill to see how olives are pressed into oil.

Here’s a quick look at what that was like:

If you want to take part in the olive harvest yourself this year, La Cucina Sabina is hosting another gathering on the 11th of November.

The day includes picking olives, a visit to the mill, olive oil tasting, lunch and a cooking lesson. You can also stay overnight!

fresh olives

P.S. If you are interested in learning more about olive oil (and all the scandals attached to it in Italy), I recommend Extra Virginity: The Sublime and Scandalous World of Olive Oil. I’m about half way through the book myself!

I am loving the book and want you to know that the link above is affiliate – which supports the blog at no cost to you!

4 thoughts on “The Olive Harvest in Italy

  1. Paul Hudson says:

    I would be curious to know what an authentic bottle of good quality olive oil costs in Italy.

    Are there any brands that you have seen in San Diego that you know to be good. I heard that when buying olive oil you want to look for a harvest date.

    When I was in San Diego I would buy olive oil at Mona Lisa in Little Italy but since I have been in Mexico I buy it at Costco 🙁

    Looks like a cool experience. I want to see the harvest in Valle de Guadalupe now. Cheers

  2. Virginie says:

    Dear Natalie, I am an olive oil sommelier and have been truly enjoying your blog posts about olive oil tasting and olive oil harvest. They are truly well-made, engaging, and dispel very useful and truthful information about our adored green gold. We are ourselves launching olive tree pruning and harvest experiences in Umbria and Apulia this year, and I am glad to see this is something that is available nearer Rome. Thank you for sharing and adding to the olive oil lover family. 🙂

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