The olive farm

Week One on the farm

November 25, 2005

We know a lot of you are interested in hearing more about our time working on the farm so I'll try to give you a glimpse into our days. The farm is located just below the village of Giuncarico, located in the Tuscan countryside. Giuncarico has a population of around 300 people and is very charming. The farm itself is organic and produces cold pressed, extra virgin olive oil. The olive oil is sold and given as gifts to friends, family and helpers. The owner Marco bought the farm 20 years ago after needing a change from his job in advertising and marketing. Uli, the other owner, is from Germany and she has been working the land w/ Marco for 10 years. During this time they have provided free accommodations and meals in exchange for a helping hand. That's were we come into the scene. We found the farm via the Help Exchange program which matches willing workers with farms across the world. We thought this would be a great way to learn more about olive oil production, meet some new people and pick up some Italian along the way. What we found was that and so much more. So there's a quick background about the farm and here's a typical day during our first week:

7:15-wake up to the bell tower in Giuncarico
7:30-8:00 eat breakfast-all the bread, yogurt, fruit, fresh preserves, rice cakes and fruit we could eat
8:00-12:30 work-depending on the weather we could be picking olives, pruning the olive trees, repairing nets used for the olive collection, taking the olives to the mill, hauling and chopping wood for the house and clearing the weeds around the trees in an effort to prevent the weeds from ripping the nets
2-5 work-ditto from the morning
5-8 free time
8-10 dinner consisting of soups, pastas, salads, bruschetta with loads of garlic and olive oil and other goodies
10- bed-crash pretty hard depending on the work done earlier that day and the amount of wine and food consumed at dinner

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