Joy then Disappointment

Olives

Olives

Although getting last night’s post done kept me up super-late, once I shook off the rich food and wine hangover, I was still totally psyched about meeting Nancy Pelosi last evening, and I was sure it was going to be a great day.

Near the top of my list for the day was to finally harvest olives from Clara’s trees across the street. I spent more than a couple hours on a ladder out there and ended up with a 5-gallon bucket about two-thirds full. And I barely made a dent in the crop. Since the trees are right on Brighton, there were lots of passers-by and I met a couple people who live in the area.

I was very excited to score the olives and couldn’t wait to get to work prepping the and getting them soaking. At home I started sorting through what I had, tossing the sticks and leaves and obviously bad ones. That’s when my joy started to erode into disappointment. I had inspected some pretty closely last week when I went to ask Clara about picking some. They seemed to not be infested with the dreaded olive fly. But now, in my kitchen I could see that the crop was moderately infested. Total drag.

I have been wanting to cure olives for years, and I’ve been waiting for my own young trees to produce enough fruit to make the effort worthwhile. But even the first tiny crops had fly infestations. Now I am ready to totally throw in the towel on curing olives. It is just to much of a pain in the ass.

In the first place, picking olives doesn’t go as fast as one might wish, and there were a couple times I thought I would topple off the not-so-level ladder. Then, when I started sorting and realized that some, maybe 30% looked infested, the sorting and inspection process slowed dramatically. Just image facing a 5-gallon bucket of little nicoise-size olives and checking every single one carefully for signs of entry by fly larvae. God only knows how long it will take just to get through this step. And the result of the step is throwing out a third to half of the crop. And after that is the knowledge that you have surely missed some and will be getting a little extra protein here and there (although, I guess this is just a plain fact about purchased olives too).

So, I’ll sort a couple jars worth and forget the rest. I can use the time saved to get back to other things, like learning jQuery and ASP.NET, or just reminiscing about the time I shook Ms. Pelosi’s hand.