The last week of October provided an opportunity for two of the Avanti Italia workers to help the school cook, Rosa, harvest olives at her family farm in the southern region of Puglia. New to the tasks of olive harvesting, the two workers learned the proper way to collect the olives from the trees and how to gather and bag them. On multiple occasions the workers had the opportunity to go to a processing plant that transformed the olives into olive oil. The weather gave fair fortune throughout the week with only one day of rain. Though the workers were few in number, the season’s produce exceeded expectations with a strong yield.
Alongside the bountiful harvest, the Avanti Italia workers had the opportunity to experience the hospitality of the Pugliese table. Every meal saw a marvelous assortment of cheeses, meats, and pastas. The conversations were full of cheer and laughter. Entertainment abounded whether it was the playfulness of Pippo the dog, the conversation of local news, or the drama of a subpar German soap opera.
Outside of the farm, the workers had the opportunity to visit local towns in the area. While there were many beautiful vistas and churches, perhaps the most iconic of sights in Puglia comes from the Trullo – conical, roofed houses with a ball or symbol atop of it. These beautiful buildings serve as a reminder that unique and authentic experiences can be found in all corners of the world
While a week is a fleeting amount of time in life, there can be no doubt that it only takes a week to see something beautiful in its proper season. The olives will go and come again next year. The food will only keep us full for a short time. But the memories and relationships will last long into the future. It was a good harvest indeed.