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We started picking our olives last Sunday and finished on Friday. But I must also say that we only had a third of what we had last year. Yes, this is disappointing because this year we have a lot of people who want our oil. The olives that grow in the Maussane Valley make really tasty olive oil. It is considered the best in France. This region also includes the Baux Valley.

We take our olives to a small family company Lou Fouste Craven in St. Martin de Crau. They opened on the first of November and will close the week before Christmas. If you want your finished oil to contain only your olives, you must bring them at least 50 kgs. There are lots of people who use their services and arrive with a bucket of olives. When they return to pick up their oil, they go home with a small bottle. The oil they take home will be a mixture from their olives and other people’s. Mind you, the oil will taste the same as mine because we all grow the same varieties.

Most of the orchards in the valley contain the following species; Grossane, Picholine, Salonenque, Verdale and Aglandau. The Grossane olives turn a beautiful deep purple while the other varieties end up being interesting mixtures of red and green. Green olives will yield green oil and a mixtures of olives yields a golden color oil.
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Grossane
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Picholine
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Verdale and Aglandau
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Salonenque
There are hundreds of varieties of olives and they all look a lot alike. When I get outside and try to guess which is which on our trees, I am really just guessing. We have all of the ones in the pictures, but mostly the Grossane. And then there are the green ones?
Our house guests/workers left yesterday and today with a gift of oil for helping us all week and since this isn’t the first time they have helped, they have a list of friends who want to buy some oil. Our timing was perfect since today it is raining.

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And finally – olive picking is hard work!DSC08912