A highland fling

our wee adventure on the Black Isle

Olive edification


Every year it is the same at Casa Tyr.

All year, we watch and wait. We watch the olives as they grow from tiny flowers to fully formed olives. We wait while they turn from green, to purple, and finally to black. Then we wait a bit longer for them to become slightly wrinkled, which indicates that the water has left the olive and only oil remains.

It’s a long process, especially  here on the mountain. As we grow our olives at a higher altitude (therefore cooler temps) than most, they ripen much more slowly. I was just chatting to someone today (a Lujos customer, in fact!!), and she told me they picked their olives about a month ago. I’m jealous.

However, the long, slow ripening on our mountain results in a richer, more olive-y olive oil. Everyone who has tried our Yunquera Gold oil says it’s the best they’ve ever tasted, so who am I to argue with that?

There is a down side, as there always is. We can’t pick our olives until the first of December or later – the olives just aren’t ready until then. So December it is – with its winter rains, high winds, fog, and often other unpleasant winter weather!

Our goal is to beat the wind to the crop – the ripe olives are very prone to being blown off the trees! We also hope to be lucky enough to get a run of dry days, as it usually takes the two of us 7 days or so to pick a “press-worth” of olives. Then there’s Christmas – we’d like to get the picking finished by then, so we aren’t picking on Christmas Day! What stress!

For the past 3 years, we’ve only been partially successful. For example, last year was a bumper crop, but the rains came mid-December, and didn’t quit for 3 months, so the second half of the crop was just…lost. It was heart breaking!

So the nail-biting season is here – we hope to start the harvest this week, but it’s raining and windy as I’m writing this, so the race is on!


Casa Tyr olives

Olives just before harvest at Casa Tyr (photo by Kenton@imagenary.co.uk)




Author: Ann Larson

One-time IT executive who lives on a 22 acre olive farm in Spain with husband Kenton and 2 boxer dogs. We make Yunquera Gold olive oil, and soap and skincare products from same. We aim to make natural, fresh, and handmade products at affordable prices!

2 thoughts on “Olive edification

  1. Good luck with your olive harvest this year. I have a selection of the best Olive Picking blogs on my website http://www.OlivePicking.com and am delighted to add yours to our ‘roll of honour’.


    • hi Hilary, thanks for posting! I’ll happily read your blog today! More olive picking stories to come, as we make our way through all 850 trees! Video, too, so watch this space!