This morning I was walking along a street in Amman, Jordan and came across several
people parking plastic chairs near the olive trees planted inexplicably along the city’s public sidewalks. They’d climb onto the chairs and start picking the olives off by hand and putting into sacks. What I’ve learned making THE GOLDEN HARVEST is that they are picking too early. The olives are still too green for oil. But if they want them for table olives, they’ll do okay.
Seeing these people today reminded me of why we’re making this film and just how hard it is to make a film. So I thought I’d give a little update. We’re in post production now.
We’ve filmed in four countries, and have a couple more to go. Along the way we’ve sampled a tremendous amount of great (and sometimes not so great) olive oil. When I sample those oils at home now, they remind of the exact trees they come from, because they taste and smell of the wind and sea and soil of that spot. Maybe that is one of the reasons olive oil stirs up so many emotions. The idea for this film began several years ago when my father passed away, and I tried to think of the times where he was happiest. And it was around the time of the olive harvest,when people would come to him to taste the oil from their harvest. My father hadn’t lived among olive trees since his youth, and I’m not sure he knew what virgin and extra virgin olive pressing meant, but that passion for the oil—for great oil—never left him. How could it? It was in almost everything he ate, and sometimes he just had a straight shot of it as a pick me up. When I started mentioning some of the olive oil stories of mine to other people with Mediterranean roots, it inevitably formed led to them telling me their own stories, all with as much emotion as if they were telling me about their first loves. And so the process began…it’s been a regional effort, with great co-producers in Italy, Greece, Spain and Palestine. And we’ve brought together just some of the stories of that people along the olive oil route, tales of love, faith, pain and triumph—not to mention science, medicine and needless to say, great food. In the coming months, I’ll start introducing you to the crew and the people we’ve met–along with their favorite olive oil recipes.