We walked through the grape vineyards (they also make wine--no surprise there, who doesn't?), which were beginning to change colors. Very lovely.
We continued down the hillside to the olive grove, where workers were busy harvesting olives from trees.
This was a earth-moving experience--literally. Their equipment shook the tree so hard that we could feel the vibrations under our feet. A large, upside down umbrella type object collected the olives as they fell, and then they poured them into big carts that transported the olives to the mill where machines extract the oil.
We then got to taste some of the oil that the farm produced...it is truly going to be hard to return to the states and not have easy access to these olive oils.
I bought some of the oil from the first press (as in, straight out of the press, not filtered) and it has such a fantastic flavor. I've read conflicting opinions on the validity of identifying oil as cold pressed (estratto freddo) olive oil, but to the growers here it is a very important aspect of their process and has a direct impact on the quality of their oils. If nothing else, I now know that all olive oils are not the same, and from now on we will be olive oil snobs--these oils taste nothing like the junk on the shelves at the supermarket. In our language it's like having a Mr. Pibb instead of a Dr. Pepper. Who in his right mind would choose to suffer like that? :)