Picking, harvesting, storing, using olive oil

For centuries, for millennium, olives were picked the same way: grasp a branch and lightly running your fingers downward, gently pluck and pull the olive away from the branch. Let the olives drop into a basket or a well placed net. At the end of the day, your hands feel soft and supple from handling the fruit, and your arms are a little stiff from reaching for the next branch. Picking olives is fun and romantic when it’s a hobby, but far more serious when it’s your life’s work.

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What’s in your olive oil?

Even the most casual wine drinker probably knows the difference between a chardonnay and a white zinfandel. If this is the case, why don’t the most passionate chefs or home cooks know more about their olive oil? Maybe the chefs know a brand name, but do they know what variety of olive is used?

The concept of terroir or terrain or terreno (French-English-Italian) is frequently discussed with grapes and wine; why not with olive oil? If sun, soil and climate affect a grape, it stands to reason it would affect the flavor of an olive and it’s oil.

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