A day olive picking! Could you feel more connected to the Mediterranean than that? Tour agency Eurodan in Alanya is organising every fall, when the olives are ripe, a trip to one of the groves in Gündoğmuş. And we went along.
Turkey is one of the largest olive producers in the world. Olive growing is concentrated in the regions of the Aegean, Marmara and south-east Anatolia. But of course, also in our Alanya region, olive groves can be found. After all, the Mediterranean climate and olive trees are known to be a perfect match. Most of the gardens around here are small, run by families who use the harvest for their own consumption and for earning a small profit by selling the olive oil.
The olives are ready to be picked in fall, usually in the months October and November. If we hear from tour agency Eurodan that they organise an Olive Picking Tour, we don’t hesitate to join. So, on a sunny day in October, we head for Gündoğmuş.
Every Other Year
We went to the olive garden of Gürsel Kılınç. He planted a few hundreds of olive trees some years ago and is now harvesting olives from them. Some will be pickled and prepared for consumption, others will go to the factory to be turned into olive oil. He explains that his olive trees only bear full fruit once every two years. They use so much energy one year that the next year they need to recover for the upcoming year.
After a traditional lunch of gözleme, the group is ready for action. Plastic bags are taken out from everywhere, and the picking begins. It’s almost a meditative kind of work, picking these lovely, deep green or dark grey olives from the branches. But be aware, do not try to eat them! They’re very bitter and need to be cured before they’re edible.
To The Factory
When everybody has collected a bag full, we head for the olive factory. When it’s olive harvesting time, these factories are working 24/7 for a couple of weeks. Pick-up trucks and tractor loaded full of olives are delivered at various hours of the day. Here you can have your olives weighed and receive the equivalent in oil. Or you can wait till your own olives are going in and collect your very own olive oil.
Your Own Oil
We went to the Baboğlu Factory in Oba, Alanya. On arrival, the olives are thrown into a large metal bin, once the process is complete you are left with this beautiful, almost gold-green coloured fluid.
And believe us, it tastes even better when you know it’s from the olives you picked with your own hands!
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