Olive Oil

Our five-acre olive farm is in the heart of the Messinia area of Greece, a region which is renowned for producing some of the best olive oil in the world.

The 400 olive trees on our farm produce oil which is:

Certified organic

Cold pressed

Extra virgin

Single estate


Hand picked



And now for something completely different —

GM Self-Harvesting Olives

GM Self-Harvesting Olives                   by Penny Philcox (© 2013)

Genetically Modified Self-Harvesting Olives!

Many thanks to Penny Philcox for sending me this great cartoon, which was inspired by a remark I made when I was moaning on about how much I dread the olive harvest in Podcast 10 (“I’d Rather Eat My Own Face”). This is what I said…

Although I’m generally in favour of preserving traditional farming methods and I’m totally against the idea of genetically modifying crops (or anything else for that matter), when it comes to olive trees I would be prepared to make an exception. A friend and I discussed this recently and decided that it shouldn’t be beyond the whit of some scientist or other to design the GM Self-Harvesting Olive. This would be achieved by equipping each olive with it’s own tiny machete, which it would use to cut through its stalk and detach itself from the tree. It could also have a mini parachute so that the fruit would not be bruised when it hit the ground as well as little legs to enable it to walk to the nearest sack and climb into it.

Until that glorious day comes, however, I will have to endure several months of nightmares about the impending harvest and then the pure hell of the harvest itself.

Thanks again, Penny. Maybe there’s hope after all. 😉

10 thoughts on “Olive Oil

  1. Lucky you ! I am still laboring in Chicago but I am zealous of you . I wish I was able to do the same. Have a small farm in Messinia and spent the rest of my time blogging.


    • Hi Caroline.

      Cold pressing means that the oil is extracted below 27 degrees C. The press we use is in one of the villages near Kyparissia on the west coast of the Peloponnese. I’m sure a visit could be arranged if you’re ever in the area, but bear in mind that the presses are only open during the harvesting season (October to January).



  2. Hi,I could not agree more about how hard a time we have as a family at Harvesting Olives Period.
    My family own a small farm with 1000 olive trees in Tuscany,so I can understand only too well……..anyway all I need to recover from the exertion is a new book by Rob Johnson !
    Thank you,Rob


    • Hi, Mara, and many thanks for commenting.

      Our harvest this year was even more of a nightmare than usual because the guys we’d hired to come and help never turned up, so Penny and I ended up doing the whole thing ourselves. Seven weeks of sheer torture!

      Delighted to hear that my books help towards your recovery from your own harvesting exertions. 🙂 Have you read ‘Lifting the Lid’ and ‘Heads You Lose’? If so, and you need any more help with your recovery, I’ve got a new book coming out in the next few days called ‘Quest for the Holey Snail’, and it doesn’t mention olives or harvesting even once.

      Incidentally, we were in Tuscany a couple of years ago for a few days. Stunningly beautiful!

      Best wishes,



  3. First of all, let me say that I enjoyed reading ‘A kilo of string’ very much!
    You’re so brilliant, Rob!
    I’ve bought a copy for a friend, too and I will buy more for others.

    My summer house is near Lagouvardos beach and my family owns some olive trees there. I have never tried personally to harvest any olive tree and after reading your book I don’t think I will ever do it! Are you kidding me? No way! After reading your experience about harvesting these ‘innocent’ trees, I will stay away from them…So, I will let George, my brother-in-law, continue doing the harvest. LOL

    Now it’s the harvesting season in that part of Greece, Rob. Don’t tell me you’re still harvesting your olive trees?


    • Hi Yanna,

      Many thanks for taking the time to get in touch, and I’m delighted to hear how much you enjoyed ‘A Kilo of String’. Many thanks also for buying the book for your friends. I couldn’t ask for a better endorsement than that!

      As I’m typing this, I can hear the sounds of olive harvesting machinery not far away, so I’m already breaking out into a cold sweat at the thought of our own impending harvest. We’re actually planning to start a little later this year, and our priority for this week is trying to pin somebody down to come and do most of the work. It was a big harvest the year before last, and the guy and his gang who we’d booked never turned up, which is why Penny and I half killed ourselves doing everything ourselves – every day for about nine weeks!

      I must admit I had to look up Lagouvardos, although it seems your summer house is not far from us. Perhaps if you’re passing through Kyparissia next time you’re here we could meet up for a coffee/ouzo/beer/wine (delete as applicable).

      Incidentally, I don’t know if you ever post reviews on Amazon (or Goodreads or elsewhere), but it would be great if you wouldn’t mind posting one for ‘A Kilo of String’. It doesn’t have to be long. Just a few words would be fine. Don’t worry if not, though, as I know how much you enjoyed the book, and that’s what counts in the end.

      Many thanks again and all the best,



      • I’ve just read your message, Rob. Sorry I’m answering now, but I’ve been suffering a lot lately. You see I broke my wrist (actually the radius bone) and after 40 days in cast, there are, unfortunately complications! I’ll tell you more next time. I’m afraid I have to stop here as I’m using my left hand to type this message. I’ll explain more as soon as my hand is ok again.
        Thank you so much for writing to me. I enjoyed your book so much! You are very good!



        • Hi Yanna,

          No problem about the delay in replying, and I’m sorry to hear about your broken wrist, especially as there are complications after 40 days in a cast. I broke my ankle years ago, and that made life difficult enough, but breaking a wrist must be far worse in terms of what you’re able to do. As for typing, have you tried using speech to text? Windows includes a speech recognition facility, although I’ve no idea if it’s any good as I’ve never tried it myself.

          When are you back at Lagouvardos? As I said before, it’s not far from us, and it would be great to meet up if possible.

          Please don’t worry about replying to this until your wrist is fully recovered. Hopefully that will be very soon.

          All the best,



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