Olive Picking in Provence

Olive Picking in Provence


When we say that host family relationships stick, we mean it. Our very own Resident Student Advisor, Nitin Beeharry, has maintained a close relationship with his host family for the last fifteen years! His host parents, Colette & Patrick, are still with the AUCP, and have welcomed Barnard student Geneva Hutcheson into their home this semester. For Colette & Patrick, olive picking is an annual tradition. Their family friend’s olive grove in Mollégès produces a limited quantity of organic olive oil, just enough for their friends & family who all pitch in on harvest day.

Nitin and Geneva went olive picking with their host parents on a lovely sunny November day (it was in the low 70s!). They got up very early (much to Geneva’s dismay), and headed to the olive grove. Each person was in charge of a row of olive trees, and used a small claw-like device to reach the highest olives. One family friend even made her rounds on horseback!

Geneva shared her thoughts:

« Olive harvesting was a new experience for me. The closest thing I had ever done before was taking care of a garden raspberry bush! We had beautiful weather for the beginning of November, and we were able to harvest much more than I had thought possible. Between the clear blue skies and the rows of green trees, olive picking was a calming and uplifting experience. »

Nitin has been olive picking with his host family each year for the past six years. This year, the group was able to harvest nearly 900 pounds of olives!

Some olive picking French vocab:

cueillir (v) – to pick (fruits/vegetables/herbs)

un panier – basket

une oliveraie – olive grove

un olivier – olive tree

la récolte – harvest

Photos, below!