Hands-on Olive Harvesting and Olive Oil Production
Experience the rich symbolism and historic significance of the olive tree
Like wine, the simplest and best way to appreciate olive oil is to taste it. Pressing olive oil and creating table olives in this enjoyable harvesting and processing experience is a great way to celebrate the olive harvest and discover how delicious and flavourful truly good olive oil can be. Our olive harvest begins in November and lasts through until January. We harvest using traditional methods like hand-picking and process using cold-press techniques that have not changed much in thousands of years. Experience the full olive-oil immersion!
The Western part of Turkey is the country’s biggest olive producing region (75%), and is famous for its high-quality, often organic olive oil. The provinces of Muğla and neighboring Çanakkale have the best growing conditions for olive trees. Turkey is usually in the top five of olive-oil producing countries in the world. The olive tree has always been rich in symbolism, being known as a gift from the goddess Athena and a symbol of fertility and peace. The olive branch Athena presented to the city of Athens grew into an impressive tree that lived for centuries and impressed the Council of Gods with the healthy, golden liquid pressed from its fruit. With an average lifespan of 300-400 years and thousand year-old trees not a rarity, the olive tree is also known as the “immortal tree” in botany and mythology. The area around Kapıkırı village grows about 5 varieties of olives with names like domat, mudanya and Kalamata only beginning to hint at the burst of flavour each contains.
Look forward to
Traditionally, olive growers reward their harvest helpers with an al fresco picnic lunch right in the olive grove, and this tour is no exception. A bottle of Turkish wine, some home baked bread and grilled meats over the open fire and soon you will be talking like old friends. The olive oil you press yourself and take home will certainly impress, with its delicately fresh, fruit-kissed, and slightly astringent qualities.
- Live in the centre of a vibrant Turkish village
- Participate in the olive harvest using traditional methods
- Learn how to process olives and press a high-quality, organic olive oil
- Prepare Turkish delicacies in an optional cooking class
- Return home with lasting memories and your handmade olive oil
Welcome to Turkey! Arrival in Izmir or Bodrum, airport pick-up and transfer to Bafa Lake and the Agora Guesthouse in Kapıkırı Village. Welcome dinner at the guesthouse prepared by the mother of the family including a soup that is a specialty for the region, appetizers and salads, main course and fruit or desert. Information session about the region and the week’s harvesting and olive oil programme.
Wake-up to the sound of the rooster crowing and a rich, Turkish breakfast spread. Get the lay of the land by walking the ancient ruins of the city of Heraclea, whose ruins are interspersed throughout the village and surrounding area. Börek (Turkish pastry) for lunch, baked in a wood-fired oven; two salads of seasonal vegetables and yoghurt obtained from the local villages. After lunch we will walk to handpick olives from 50-300 year-old trees. Transport olives by donkey back to guesthouse. Guests can curl up with a book by the fire or relax in the hammam (Turkish bath) before dinner.
Breakfast at the guesthouse. After breakfast we will continue harvesting olives using traditional methods (stick method, hand-made baskets) until lunch. We will have a picnic among the interesting rock formations of the area including sucuk (Turkish garlic sausage), cheese, tomatoes, olives, cucumbers and halva. After a short break back at the guesthouse, the afternoon is spent processing the olives picked the day before with the mother of the family, both çekişke (kırma) and dilme olives. Processed olives can be taken home as gifts by our guests. Those who desire to relax after such a long day shall have the opportunity to enjoy the hammam again. Dinner at Agora.
Option to either continue with the olive harvest until lunch or participate in a cooking lesson to learn to prepare traditional dishes like keşkek, topuldak, karnıyarık (aubergines with seasoned minced meat filling), and Turkish rice pudding. Picnic-style lunch. In the afternoon we will learn how to press olive oil out of the olives that were picked in previous days using the soğuksıkım (cold-extrusion) method. First the olives are crushed using a stone mill; then mashed by foot with mild water. The olive oil can be taken home by the guests. A local singer and poet will accompany us with his instrument. Harvest celebration for dinner with the specialities prepared in the cooking class.
Return day and transfer to Izmir or Bodrum airport or possibility to extend your trip to visit local villages or historic sites like the Yediler Monastery. Farewell!
Included in the Price
- airport transfers on arrival and departure days
- 3 meals a day (breakfast, lunch, dinner); water, coffee and tea included
- English-speaking, local guide
- 4 nights at the Agora Guesthouse, based on double occupancy with your own facilities
- Children and infants 0-6 years old are free, children 7-12 years old receive a 50% discount
Excluded: return flights to Izmir or Bodrum, personal expenses & drinks
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