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Posts tagged ‘olive harvest’

La Raccolta

Just one of many cassette filled with olives we'll bring to the olive mill this season.

Just one of many cassette filled with olives we’ll bring to the olive mill this season.

Now we understand why our Pugliese neighbors don’t start harvesting their olives until the end of October at the very earliest. They need at least that long to recover from the rigor of la vendemmia, the grape harvest, which wraps up by the first of the month. You might think that olive ripeness has something to do with it, but we’re learning that olives are considerably less finicky than wine grapes and are reasonably happy to hang out on their trees, basking in the late autumn sun. When the raccolta (olive harvest) begins is subject to an array of factors, some more obscure than others. So much to learn . . . . Read more

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The Vendemmia

The fruits of our grape-picking labor during this year's vendemmia are transported to Cisternino's cooperative winery.

The fruits of our grape-picking labor during this year’s vendemmia are transported to Cisternino’s cooperative winery.

We’re getting ready for the olive harvest, but I’m still reeling from our previous harvest effort just a few weeks ago. While having dinner at a neighbor’s house, we found ourselves offering to help with their vendemmia, which was exploding all around us. So that’s what we did one morning in early October and it was like nothing I’ve ever experienced. I’m still recovering. Read more

Addio Summer

Goodby summer, but autumn is still looking pretty good.

We said goodbye to summer, but autumn is still looking pretty wonderful.

Autumn officially begins on September 21st, but in Puglia, September is arguably the very best time of the year for savoring the best of the summer. Even though the days are getting shorter, it feels like the atmospheric gods are conspiring to make the ever-waning daylight something truly special. From stunning midday skies and dreamy sunsets to sweet, grape-scented breezes, we’re reveling in these last moments before the darkening sky moves decisively into winter. Read more

Giro di Puglia

The old fishing harbor in Monopoli on the Adriatic coast in Puglia is just one of the charming towns worth visiting here.

The old fishing harbor in Monopoli on the Adriatic coast in Puglia is just one of the charming towns worth visiting here.

While we wait for Pascarosa Organic Extra Virgin Olive Oil to be blessed by the FDA at the Port of Portland, we are busy cooking up something new for the fall. Maybe we’ve been inspired by the Giro d’Italia, the epic bicycle stage race now underway just next door to us in Matera, then Mola di Bari tomorrow. And so many friends and friends of friends have gotten in touch lately, wanting to know more about Puglia and its amazing coastline, cuisine and gioia di vivere (joy of living) that we have started putting together plans for some tours during the golden days of September, October and early November here. But we need your help to design the best experience possible, so here’s where you come in.

Orecchiette con Cime di Rapa is one of the most satisfying Pugliese dishes you'll learn how to master.

Orecchiette con Cime di Rapa is one of the most satisfying Pugliese dishes you’ll learn how to master.

Will you take a minute to check out this survey and tell us what you think? Here’s what we’re planning: three tours, focusing on three different aspects of life here, for one week each. The first is a culinary tour that offers an up-close, very much behind the scenes look at la cucina Pugliese (Puglian cooking). We’ll participate in hands-on cooking classes, olive oil tasting and evaluation, wine tasting featuring Puglia’s world-class varietals and obscure blends now experiencing international success and walking tours of the centri storici (historic centers) of some of the most charming towns and villages you’ve ever seen. This trip will take place in mid-September, 2013 and in the later spring of 2014.

The first drops of fresh cold-pressed organic extra virgin olive oil from our harvest.

Experience the flavor of the first drops of fresh cold-pressed organic extra virgin olive oil from the Pascarosa olive harvest.

The second, an olive harvest tour, provides an opportunity to participate in the olive harvest, bringing olives to the olive mill and tasting the first organic extra virgin olive oil as it drips off the press. This trip includes hands-on cooking classes focused on the use of extra virgin olive oil in every course from antipasto to dessert, visits to historic and modern olive mills, a workshop on the sensory evaluation of olive oil and visits to Valle d’Itria towns steeped in olive oil tradition. This trip will take place during the very beginning of the olive season, around the first week of November 2013.

Ride with the areas premier amateur cyclists while discovering the Valle d'Itria.

Ride with the areas premier amateur cyclists while discovering the Valle d’Itria.

The third tour is a biking tour of the incredibly Valle d’Itria countryside. From the Adriatic  to the Ionian coasts—and all the hills and valleys in between—guests will have the chance to join the local bicycle club on their weekly rides. There will be a variety of routes available to accommodate all rider levels as well as activities for non-rider partners like hands-on cooking classes, visits to artisan cheese and pasta workshops and more. This trip will take place in mid-September and in the later spring of 2014.

More detail about the trips can be found on our Pascarosa website, which will be active any day now . . . really!  But as we shape the tours and refine our pricing, your input is absolutely invaluable in creating experiences that reflect your interests.

Learn how to make handmade orecchiette from the masters—Puglia's grandmothers.

Learn how to make handmade orecchiette from the masters—Puglia’s grandmothers.

If you can take a minute to complete this survey, we can zero in on the details that will make these Pugliese sojourns memorable. All of the tours we’re planning include experiences that are not generally available to the public. Over 17 years in Puglia have given us the chance to develop deep friendships with farmers, food artisans and vintners who will share their knowledge and their home with our guests. We speak Italian fluently, so we’ll smooth the way as our guests develop their own relationships with the people of the Valle d’Itria. We’ll also take care of all the arrangements—from five star accommodations to comfortable transportation between activities.

Polignano a Mare, one of Puglia's seaside jewel-like towns to visit.

Polignano a Mare, one of Puglia’s seaside jewel-like towns to visit.

So thanks for your willingness to share your thoughts with us. And as a way of thanking you, we’ll give you a 10% discount on the cost of any tour you might decide to join eventually if you complete our survey by June 1, 2013. We’d love to see you here and hope to capture your imagination as an inaugural participant.

Liquid Gold

The first drops of fresh cold-pressed organic extra virgin olive oil from our harvest.

The first drops of fresh cold-pressed organic extra virgin olive oil from our harvest.

It seems that there is more than one way to harvest olives in Italy. Today we spent the morning picking the last olives that will become the 2012 Pascarosa Organic Extra Virgin Olive Oil and we were tutored by the best. In the process, we learned that our Sunday harvest idyll last week helping friends with their olives was just dabbling. Today’s harvest was the real thing. Read more

We’re Thankful for Olives

Brian learns to use the scuotitore to “shake” those hard-to-reach olives right out of the trees.

Thanksgiving in Martina Franca came and went quickly. Since Americans are pretty thin on the ground here, it was just another day for our Italian friends and neighbors. For us, though, it was a little strange to experience a holiday that no one else is celebrating. The positive aspects? No waiting at the butcher shop to claim our turkey, food vendors were open for business all day long and there was a marked absence of football (the American kind). Okay, maybe that’s not a positive for everyone but it worked for us. We celebrated with Italian and American friends with all the usual Thanksgiving accompaniments, but we drew the line at candied yams and marshmallow fluff. Our minds, though, were firmly focused on the overarching seasonal business at hand here—the olive harvest. Read more

Twilight in Martina Franca

We watch the evening sky and wonder about the U.S. presidential election.

The day before the presidential election in the United States, we sat on our terrace and marveled at the sky. A warm scirocco wind was blowing from the south, the clouds were swirling and the colors changed before we could capture them on camera. The sky was a visual representation of an uncertain future, beautiful but unsettling. Removed from daily political analysis, the clouds reminded us that the future is anything but clear. Happily, we’re not thinking much beyond the olive harvest just now.

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