Olive picking is a family-oriented event in Dalmatia. Picking together makes it enjoyable work, and many hands make light work. Picking takes place in early November, around the start of wintertime, which means dawn (7 am) and dusk (5 pm).
We are expected at a neighbour’s house around 7h30 for coffee and rakija, and by 8h, we are in the olive grove, ready to pick. Our neighbour puts cloths under each tree, which makes picking effortless. When we are done with the tree, the cloths are picked up, and the olives are put into containers.
Around noon, it is time for marenda, a meal in the olive grove. This can be sandwiches but also bakalar (dried cod), fažol (beans with meat) or tripice (sheep stomachs), and we drink homemade gemišt (gemišt is sparkling water with white wine). With a full stomach, we continue picking until dark. Around 5 pm, we are back at the neighbours to clean the olives (the leaves and stalks are removed so that we are left with only the olives) and have a cup of Turkish coffee. The olives are taken to the press, and the day ends with a meal, usually grilled pork neck with vegetables, potatoes, bread and, of course, another glass of homemade wine.