At this year’s Harvest Festival as the passata makers wiped the last sauce spatters away, Rosa Voto and musicians, Sancori, took centre stage to perform Stories of Harvest from Southern Italy to a gathering of harvest revellers primed to let loose.
With dancers from the Melbourne School of Tarantella, Rosa told centuries old village tales of land, water, life and death woven through with saucy innuendo, sideways nods to pagan spirits and digs at cruel boss men and the Church.
And on that sunny autumn afternoon in the courtyard below the Merri Café as the music played and the people twirled, singing and giving thanks, the work of reciprocity and gratitude was indistinguishable from the work of growing and gathering.
Later I imagine what my family of hard-toiling Calvinist farmers and Catholic shopkeepers would make of this scene.
Singing, dancing and reciprocity definitely did not belong in any job description of theirs, and gratitude is solely reserved for God and his assistance resisting such wild and witchy activities.
I wonder if my forebears had spent more time singing, dancing and giving thanks to country and less time taming it with axe and plough if we would still be in such a planetary pickle?
Which brings me to a little opportunity to get reciprocal with each other and Mother Earth at CERES on the last weekend of May.
If you have a backyard olive tree, or like me, have walked past a neighbourhood tree groaning with fruit and thought to yourself, This year I really have to do something with these olives, then Olives to Oil is your chance to turn good intention into sweet peppery extra virgin reality.
If that gets your gleaning juices flowing then this is how it works;
On the day or the day before Olives to Oil round up anyone you can to help harvest your olives – the fresher the olives the better the oil.
Then, bring your olives to the Olives to Oil Harvest Festival on Sunday 30th of May for the big celebration and pressing (if you can’t make Sunday drop your olives at the CERES Visitor Centre between 2pm and 4pm on Saturday 29th)
On the big day there will be music, performace, stories, olive workshops and other olive harvesting folk to celebrate with.
Alana, who you might know from our Open Table zero waste cooking workshops, will be teaching people how to preserve olives.
A small olive press will be there for people to see oil flowing and get involved in a bit of the making.
The bulk of the olives will go to Barfold Olives and be pressed together into a unique community-picked extra virgin oil (in 2019 almost three tons of olives were pressed).
Three weeks later on Sunday 20th June between 2pm – 4pm, come back to CERES with your bottle(s) and collect your freshly pressed oil to take home and enjoy with your harvesting companions.
As a guide 10kg of olives makes about 1 litre of oil and remember pick your olives on the day or the day before pressing – the fresher the olives the better the oil.
See you and your olives there – find more details here.
Have a great week