The point being quite how much intensive labour has to go into it.
In just one night in mid-November 26,000 kilograms were stripped from the trees, a haul worth €15,600 (£11,500) according to the €0.60 per-kilo price being paid out by the local San Isidro cooperative to its 300 members this season.
That’s a lot by the way, an orchard full…..or at least, the sort of orchard that a small farmer might have himself. It’s not, by any means, just a couple of trees. And that’s also the price per kilo for what you’ve beaten from the trees, onto nets, and then scooped up.
Once processed, olives for the best virgin oils are now fetching €4 a kilo,
Part of that is the quality difference. But you’ve got to pick up each olive individually, check it for worm infestation, score the skin, make sure there’s no stem etc. And you do that for each and every olive: say, 100 pieces per kilo?
It’s an absolutely obscenely difficult way to try to make money. Which is why around here there’s trees dotted around, free to anyone to harvest, which never do get harvested. One right outside my door for example. Local families will make a 50% attempt at getting the easy fruit but that’s more a cultural thing. Like going out scrumping for blackberries and the like. It’s not for the fruit, it’s to say that this is what our culture does more than anything. The kids help, everyone plays round outside for four or five hours, eats a sandwich, some litre or two of oil is made at the local co op and everyone agrees that they’re fully in touch with societal roots. And then thanks God that this is done for that litre or two, not a living.
Same with the carob that grows everywhere: €4.50 for a 14 kg bag last time I checked the price for that. The mad lady and her short bus son at the end of the road will collect 10 bags of that perhaps in season. More as something to do than anything…..
Peasant farming is a really shitty lifestyle.