My best time in Tunisia was during Olive harvest.
The feeling of freedom in the Hadeira was an incredible experience. It is probably the place where I feel most alive and free.
To feel the sun warm in your face, feel the wind in your hair, hear the birds singing and the workers chatting while they work or just sit to smell earth, flowers and fire are just countless blessings.
I feel close to my husband’s ancestors as they stand to guard us and this precious earth. Thinking about how much work they have put in and how much hope and desire they had for those who came after them.
The workers during Olive harvest in Tunisia
Our pickers are a group from Kasserine, not far from where we are. They work as seasonal workers and go from place to another where there is harvesting or construction work.
They work in groups with a boss who has control over them and in a close contact with the farmer. We were with them almost all the time and I got to know most of them well. I miss them a lot, all the laughter, dancing and singing, always in a good mood despite the fact that in the end of the day they were tired.
Many farmers do not treat them so well so I tried to be a good farmer with my husband.
I want to show you the whole process from the olive hanging on the trees until it is pressed into beautiful olive oil.
The olive in Tunisia
Tunisia is one of the top three countries in quality and production of olives.
There are several different types, but we have Chemleli. The fruit on these trees does not give much oil but gives some of the best olive oil in the world.
These trees grow well even when the weather is dry.
The trees can live more than 500 years old if you take good care of them. That is why you need to prune them and harrow the soil regularly.
Nothing is like the smell of freshly squeezed olive oil. If you drive in the middle of the country where the presses are at their peak during the harvest, you can smell almost what we call in Norway “soda powder” in the old days.
This smell comes from the “peel” of olives when extracted. It’s also used in sheep food.
Uses of olive trees
Branches from pruning the olive trees are also used as Animal food.
Crafts and goods.
Olive trees are protected, it is not allowed to cut them down, but the farmer can apply for a permission so the cutted trees can be replaced with new ones.
The olive tree wood is used to make different wood products such as: ladles, bowls, cutting bords etc…
Be careful, if you want good quality you should be a little picky because there are a lot of bad quality products out there.
Tips when buying handicrafts utensils of olive trees
Make sure that the wood is not glued and that it does not contain a pile of twigs. One must also make sure to oil the wood products so they would last much longer. I only use olive wood ladles and cutting boards.
It’s a sustainable product because you don’t spare any part of the tree and everything can be used somehow: the fruit that can be eaten or pressed for oil, wood can be used for making kitchen utensils and decoration and leaves and branches to feed animals.
written by carita
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