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There we go, our organic olive harvest is over!

Did you know that in addition to our 45 hectares of vines, we also have a grove of 80 olive trees at Le Serre Rouge in Saint-Romain-en-Viennois near Vaison-la-Romaine? Most trees were replanted immediately after the 1956 epic frost.


In the best years, these olive trees generously yield over 2,500 kilos of olives.

And this year is a very good one!

Last week, we took over 2,100 kilos of olives to the Bertrand mill in Villedieu, destined for bottled olive oil. And just this morning, the mill announced 511 liters of olive oil, with a top yield of 27%. Which means that it takes about 5 kilos of olives to produce one liter of oil.

A further 735 kilos are currently being brined at the estate, for use as table olives and tapenade.

That's almost 2,900 kilos in total. Which is our best harvest in ten years!

The last memorable harvest was in 2003, with 2,430 kilos!

Enough to make us forget the meager harvests of the previous five years, with an average of 500 kilos. In 2023, we did slightly better, harvesting a total of 780 kilos of olives (and producing 210 liters of olive oil). The harvest was so small still that we only produced olive oil last year!

Harvesting method: permanent nets and branch vibrators

For three decades, my father Christian has harvested by hand. He decided to buy a second-hand vibrator in 2001. Since then - and again this year - we've tested other methods, but we have the feeling that the techniques that involve vibrating the trunks are too aggressive for our olive trees and soils.

On a good year, it takes two people during about two weeks to complete the harvest. Our workers - this year Bastien and Didier - pick in the morning. Then, in the afternoon, they collect the olives in the nets, crate them and remove the unwanted leaves right on the spot.

Sorting and calibrating operations are carried out on the estate by my father, my mother and myself.

Did you know? Olives are a fresh produce that needs to reach the mill within 48 hours of being harvested, so we visit Villedieu every other day during the olive-picking season.

We switched to permanent nets around 2005. The nets are rolled up by hand, attached to a wire and suspended between the trees throughout the year. It's a big investment indeed, but you can keep them for ten years at least and the time saved is priceless.

Soil maintenance is fairly straightforward. We have chosen to grass over all our olive plots. So all we have to do is clear the undergrowth and mow before installing the nets. In our region, the usual practice is to overlap the nets and secure them to each other with stakes. best way to avoid any nasty blows from the mistral wind!

We chose to go for permanent netting because the installation tree by tree is highly time-consuming and a lot of olives are lost : most particularly the ones falling to the ground that are reserved for family consumption.

Family consumption of oil and olives

True to our Mediterranean reputation, we consume lots of olives and olive oil at home.

My mother Maryse is a fine cook and we have made it a habit throughout the years to invite many of our colleagues to share our table. Only then will you be able to taste our homemade pitted olives. A 100 % local recipe.

As far as Maryse's exclusive olive recipes – such as poultry escalope with tapenade and spelt from Sault and bouillabaisse with olives from Nyons - please be patient, they will soon be available online.

NB: Have you ever heard what we call the olives that have fallen from the tree and are reserved for our personal use? They are known as "ground olives". These olives are carried separately to the mill, where they are used to produce the family's oil, consumed all year round at our table.

Here we are. I hope you've enjoyed learning a little more about our olive production.

I'll be in touch soon with more news from the domain. Take care!


Publié le : 16/01/2024
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