Teenagers live in a fast-paced world full of technological distractions. Because of this, we often do not take the time to connect with the natural world or sometimes even our own families.
Every year in October I am set free from the distraction of a 21st century teenage life and transported back to a simpler time, where I connect with family and am one with nature. Every year in October I get to work at the family business, Bluebird Trail Farm.
Bluebird Trail Farm is an organic olive orchard and mill site. We also have other fruit trees, along with gardens, and a variety of animals. Throughout the year we take care of the olive trees and sell 100% Organic, certified Extra Virgin Olive Oil.
In the months of October and November, we harvest the olives from the trees. This usually takes about two to four weeks. We have friends, family, and members of an organization called World Wide Opportunities on Organic Farms (WWOOFers) come out and help with the harvest.
We start picking at 7 a.m. and go until 3:30 p.m. with an hour lunch break before noon. When the day is done, we gather up buckets full of olives and send them off to the mill next door to be crushed and turned to oil. The mill that we use is Amenduni machinery, imported from Italy roughly 8 years ago when my grandfather, Chris Kieffer, started up the olive business.
After the fresh fruit is crushed, when the oil is being extracted from the olive pulp, the air fills with the rich smell of olive oil. The oil itself goes into a stainless steel fusti, and the remaining pulp goes down a tube to a holding place outside, where we recycle it by putting it back on the trees the next year.
After a little while of waiting, we let out all of the oil with sediment in it, and set the sediment aside to make soap. We bottle the clean, nice oil by hand. People come out to help sometimes, but it is mostly just my grandpa and me. He fills the bottles with the oil that is being sucked out of a big fusti, and I cap, seal, and label all of them.
Once all of the oil is bottled, they are kept in a cool room waiting to be sold at the farmers markets come summer.