It’s that time of the year when rural Levant populations rush to their olive groves to pick the year’s harvest: generally used for pressing olive oil, pickling olives, and for making olive-based soap and beautification salves.
The timing of olive picking is crucial: it must take place after the second autumn rains – then waiting for two days thereafter for the soil to dry a little. Picking olives any later than that will embitter the flavor and ruin the benefits of the harvest. As you can imagine, this causes an insane rush to pick literally millions of trees in the region, with everyone working to a deadline. This tradition has been going on for thousands of years – even way before the enigmatic Abraham was born. Here in the south of the Lebanon, the pickers are mostly local villagers joined by Syrian refugees who have taken refuge in sleepy villages.