Tractor ride with the olives!

Olive Picking in Portugal 

Olive picking starts early in Portugal, as the season begins in November. We have now picked olives in France, Portugal and Spain. Each experience has been very different. In France olives are raked with small hand combs into the nets below.  In Southern Spain olives aren’t picked until after Christmas, and generally involve tree shakers and electric rakes on a on a grand scale, or trees are raked, shaken and picked by hand for personal use. Olive oil in Spain is big business and very lucrative. In the Granada region of Andalucia there are miles upon miles of olive grove, brand new tractors and machinery and lots of itinerant workers paid to pick the olives.

In Portugal the olive harvest seems to be on a much smaller scale than Granada. Olive trees are heavily pruned every couple of years and the fallen branches are picked. The olive harvest here seems to be much more of a family and community event and rather than getting ‘group oil’ from a co-op, the aim is to receive oil, from your own olive trees. If you are able to pick enough olives for your chosen largar’s requirements (from 350-600 kilos) for an individual press, you can end up with your own unique and individual oil.

After a long dry Portuguese summer, the olives are ready to go and the harvest begins in early November when the largar (olive mills) open. Willing workers travel from quinta to quinta, helping out in exchange for labour, food, accommodation and of course for the good stuff; the liquid gold, cold pressed extra virgin olive oil.

We helped out at a friend’s quinta. who is part of a local co-op that we have joined. A wonderful way to integrate with the communiy, help out new friends and hitch a ride with the afternoon’s haul on the quinta’s tractor!

Ready to pick olives

Raking the tree to pick the olives

The end of the day

Gathering the Olives in the Nets

Mayhem Raking Olives

Linked up with #MySundayPhoto. Please click on the camera below to see some other awesome photography.



Post Author: Topsy Turvy Tribe

Paul & Andrea ex-pats escaping the rat race with Chaos (aged 4) and Mayhem (aged 2) along for the adventure.

27 thoughts on “Olive Picking in Portugal 


    (November 12, 2017 - 6:44 am)

    Hi Andrea & Paul, olive picking is backbreaking work. Here in Greece, they do it like in Spain with beaters and people up trees shaking them. Technology has made it easy that’s for sure when we first moved here it was basically granny up a tree and the family beating it with sticks! The olive picking has just started here too and will go in until after Christmas. The olive factory near us will be working 24/7 with just one day off for Christmas and one for New Year.

    Debbie recently posted…Relaxed MumMy Profile


    (November 12, 2017 - 7:33 am)

    Beautiful photos, the last one, especially, is stunning. I love how involved the boys are too. What a great way to get to know your community. #MySundayPhoto
    Tara recently posted…My Sunday Photo – November 12th, 2017.My Profile

    John Adams

    (November 12, 2017 - 8:16 am)

    Oooooo, my favourite, sun flare! Certainly loooks like hard work but how amazing that the community still pitches in this way. I also imagine joining a co-operative is a great way to get involved with the community. #mysundayphoto

    darren coleshill

    (November 12, 2017 - 10:03 am)

    Stunning photos, I really love the colours in the first photo

    Thank you for linking up

      Topsy Turvy Tribe

      (November 12, 2017 - 10:15 pm)

      True, amazing to see so many members of the community helping each other. It is pretty hard, all the reaching and looking up makes for a tough upper back work out
      Topsy Turvy Tribe recently posted…Olive Picking in Portugal My Profile

    Fiona Cambouropoulos

    (November 12, 2017 - 10:20 am)

    I’d love to go olive picking, it is one of those romantic sounding activities of the Mediterranean. I’m sure it is actually hard work but your photos make it look just as dreamy as I imagine!
    Fiona Cambouropoulos recently posted…November isn’t winter in Cornwall.My Profile

      Topsy Turvy Tribe

      (November 12, 2017 - 10:20 pm)

      It was great. beautiful weather, location and very relaxing. There were a couple of work aways also helping, we paused for tea/ biscuits and shared some oranges, stopped once more for lunch at the farm of home made soup and bread and then carried on picking until the sun was close to setting, hence the dreamy light.
      Topsy Turvy Tribe recently posted…Olive Picking in Portugal My Profile


    (November 12, 2017 - 11:07 am)

    What a great activity to do! The lighting in these photos is gorgeous too.


    (November 12, 2017 - 2:56 pm)

    You capturea a beautiful fall day and a fascinating experience. Looks like a lot of fun too.

      Topsy Turvy Tribe

      (November 12, 2017 - 10:24 pm)

      Thanks, I started the day in a fleece,, which didn’t stay on for long. The boys had fun but preferred to rake the soil instead
      Topsy Turvy Tribe recently posted…Olive Picking in Portugal My Profile

    barbara faulconer

    (November 12, 2017 - 4:37 pm)

    Have seen several of your posts and find them interesting and informative. Can I use some of your copy for a facebook post? Check us out at Barbara Faulconer, probably listed in Thailand where we have spent ten years. We are recent arrivals in Portugal currently in VRSA. Think the olive story is an unknown one for most of our friends. We spent years in Australian bush (NSW) much of what you are doing or perhaps its an attitude, an approach is familiar. Cheers. Barbara n Richard

      Topsy Turvy Tribe

      (November 12, 2017 - 10:28 pm)

      Hi thanks for reading some of our posts, it sounds like you have lived in some interesting places. You may copy some, but please provide a link back to our blog
      Topsy Turvy Tribe recently posted…Olive Picking in Portugal My Profile


    (November 12, 2017 - 7:34 pm)

    That looks like such a fun thing to do and what a community spirit. I bet it’s so much harder than it looks and the end result must be so rewarding!

      Topsy Turvy Tribe

      (November 12, 2017 - 10:31 pm)

      I enjoyed gathering up the nets, lowering them into a bucket and carefully pulling the net out from under the olives to fill a 20kg bucket, rewarding, there may well be a 1000kgs of olives at that farm, we shall see.
      Topsy Turvy Tribe recently posted…Olive Picking in Portugal My Profile

    Emma Raphael

    (November 12, 2017 - 8:42 pm)

    The light in that last photo is really special. What a great thing to do. My friend did similar in Greece, but not with kids! 😀 #sundayphoto
    Emma Raphael recently posted…Sunday Photo – New BeginningsMy Profile

      Topsy Turvy Tribe

      (November 12, 2017 - 10:35 pm)

      Thanks, the afternoon light was amazing. We love it when the boys have a go, but didn’t expect them to want to stick around for too long. Mum took them for a day out.
      Topsy Turvy Tribe recently posted…Olive Picking in Portugal My Profile

    Jane A Little Lyrical

    (November 12, 2017 - 9:14 pm)

    What what amazing weather, wish I was there!
    Jane A Little Lyrical recently posted…My Sunday Photo – 37 Weeks PregnantMy Profile

    Topsy Turvy Tribe

    (November 12, 2017 - 10:37 pm)

    The afternoons are lovely and warm at the moment.
    Topsy Turvy Tribe recently posted…Olive Picking in Portugal My Profile


    (November 12, 2017 - 11:39 pm)

    What beautiful pictures.

    Molly recently posted…Day 316 – Genealogical treesMy Profile


    (November 13, 2017 - 2:58 pm)

    These images are beautiful, the light is stunning and what a great adventure – I love that you have done it in many countries #mysundayphoto

      Topsy Turvy Tribe

      (November 19, 2017 - 12:02 am)

      It really is a great adventure. The light here is amazing, well worth a visit if you are ever in the area!

    Stunning photos Andrea, you make it look like a wonderful relaxed activity in dreamy sunset light, even though I’m sure it’s hard work. I would love to do such a thing with my acorns.

      Topsy Turvy Tribe

      (November 19, 2017 - 12:01 am)

      Thank you Annette, the light here is so beautiful, almost golden. It was hard work but totally worth the experience!

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