When I stepped foot in our olive grove for the first time, I was 5 years old. I was ‘a big man already and I had to help with the gathering of the olives”, as my father said. Actually, there was not much I could do. Back then, to collect the olives, people “beat” them with a stick branch by branch and I could barely reach the lowest branches of the already adult olive trees. In my eyes, the olive tree was immense. Let alone the 50-kilo bag with the gathered olives.
After the gathering, the pruning would follow and later on – in the summer – the watering. This was both our occupation and our leisure. This was all our lives, the olive grove.
More than ten years and countless hours in the burning sun passed, in order for me to become a competent land laborer. By the time I was fifteen, I knew my land inch by inch. I knew each and every one of the trees that spread their roots in that land. My father, as well, knew that I had actually become a “man” and trusted me to carry on his work.
This is what growing up means. It takes patience and struggling. Like the seed that patiently waits for the right conditions and, when those come, it comes completely undone to bring forth new life, the man, tοο, doesn’t grow up until it’s time and before he grows, he has to “break”.
I still spend my life in the olive grove. For some years now, I have created my own olive oil brand packaged in proprietary premises and distributed in the Greek market through a network of trusted partners.