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Ask the experts: Taking part in an olive harvest

Our panel give advice on taking part in an olive harvest on a working holiday

Ask the experts: Taking part in an olive harvest
Olive Groves, Italy. Image: Getty

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QI’ve always wanted to take part in an olive harvest in Europe. I’d like to stay on a farm or an olive estate, and ideally it would be somewhere that has good rooms and a great restaurant. Where do you suggest?

 

Patrick Millar, marketing manager, Kirker Holidays
Patrick Millar, marketing manager, Kirker Holidays: We feature many rural properties in Spain and Italy where guests can stay amid olive groves and sample homemade olive oils. But the best place to actually join in the harvest is the Masseria Mandranova
— a working farm in the unspoilt countryside of southern Sicily, which produces some of the region’s finest olive oils.

The main farmhouse and two outbuildings house nine comfy bedrooms, while delicious local dishes, prepared using homegrown ingredients, are served on the terrace. The coast is only six miles away and Agrigento and its impressive ancient Greek Valley of the Temples ruins just 16 miles away.

The price is from £678 per person. This includes flights from Gatwick to Catania, car hire with fully inclusive insurance, three nights’ B&B accommodation and the services of the Kirker Concierge. kirkerholidays.com

 

Rhiannon Batten, travel editor, Olive magazine
Rhiannon Batten, travel editor, Olive magazine: At the family-owned Dionysos Estate, near Marmaris in Turkey, luxury terracotta-roofed suites cascade down the hillside between the estate’s olive, fig and lemon trees and the sea, giving spectacular
views of the coast and the surrounding pine-clad mountains.

There’s a spa and an infinity pool but it’s the food that shines. The modern Turkish menus in Dionysos’ three restaurants make the most of the estate’s organic produce and are created by the owners’ daughter, Didem Senol, a celebrated chef and the proprietor of Istanbul’s Lokanta Maya (lokantamaya.com) and Gram restaurants (grampera.com).

Twice weekly field-to-fork picnic lunches are popular with guests, as are olive tastings; the estate’s extra virgin olive oil is highly regarded. If you want to do more than taste the peppery final product, one week each autumn (18-25 October this year) guests can join the harvest, working alongside local farmers picking and pressing the fruits of the estate’s 1,500 olive trees.

Prices start at £700 per person for seven nights B&B, including flights and the olive harvest experience. olivemagazine.co.uk

 

Sean Dillion,  clients manager, Tuscany Now
Sean Dillion, clients manager, Tuscany Now: I’d suggest the Estate of Petroio, a working 900-acre olive oil and wine estate, located in the hills above Rufina, a short drive northeast of Florence. It’s also a private retreat that sleeps 30, and its interiors
and facilities are of a luxurious standard, plus the views of the Tuscan countryside are breathtaking. From £7,431 for a week. tuscanynow.com

 

Get in touch: If you’re in need of travel advice, email our team –
inbox@natgeotraveller.co.uk

Published in the November 2014 issue of National Geographic Traveller (UK)