We are in the midst of another olive harvest. The yield is quite good. I first expected to harvest about 7 tons of olives, but we have already reached 5 tons and have still quite a bit to go. The very hot summer resulted in smaller fruit in the Barnea (even with a small amount of irrigation), and all the trees ripened a couple weeks earlier than usual.
I had arranged for 3 volunteers to arrive around November 1, which is our usual starting date. Fortunately Sean, an amazing olive picker, writer and philosopher wrote and asked to return. He had been a WWOOFER here at Gezer 3 years ago with his girlfriend Kate. Since that time he had been living in Alaska, Bangkok and Portland ME. So Sean arrived and we got started!
Since then Ruth, Jan, Wiltrud and Tom have joined us, along with some of the kibbutz people (special thanks to Varda, Roxanne, and Amos who have made multiple appearances, as well as Roi and Ashkie) who occasional arrive to bolster our spirits and eat our food. Jan and Ruth are ex-Gezer members who live in Norway. They both worked in the olives before me. Tom is also an ex-Gezer member, living in Virginia and is a rabbi and philosopher. Wiltrud lives in Germany, and her daughter lives in the same village as Jan and Ruth in Norway.
Next week Karen and Mark return to Gezer from the colds of Wisconsin to once again pick olives and raise the energy level to unhear of proportions. I can't wait.
It is really the greatest group of people I could ask to work with. While working we have discussions that vary from why pray to God to the Iliad to which bugs are kosher to communal living to why Norwegians are so quiet to falafel to Jewish history to Peter to old Gezer stories to whether to drag or collect to business ideas to our favorite cheese to physics trivia.
The only thing missing so far this year is some rain and cooler weather. We have had only one rain so far this fall, and the temperatures have been in the 80's F (around 30 C) ever day. Too hot!
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I'm Dani Livney, a member of Kibbutz Gezer, and the manager of the Gezer olives. I love it! I also work as a lawyer, focusing on environmental projects and promoting environmental empowerment and education.