Fifth Adventure: Trip to Olive Farm

22 Dec

You decide to go along with the MOMS Club, and thankfully there are plenty of dads there too this day.  In fact, it’s a perfect day outside – sunny but cool – and you are very grateful to have a fun afternoon out.

Both boys took a little nap on the 40-minute car ride, and you’ve arrived early enough that they have time to wake up and come to life before you join the group.  You have learned very well that the McNeil brothers have a fine line between groggy & cranky and well-rested & spunky, and it seems they’ll be happy for the rest of your time at the farm.  The farm is perfectly laid out for tours: there is parking about 100 feet from the olive trees, which are about 50 feet from the factory, which is about 150 feet from the gift shop & tasting room.  This is the ideal distance for all the preschoolers who have gathered by now, as they feel independent walking by themselves, but can’t possibly get tired from the walk.

The tour begins with picking olives from two trees.  This would seem a simple task, but it appears that your group is the Most Inefficient Olive Pickers in the world.  For the half hour you pick olives, you barely fill two large buckets halfway full.  You have a feeling that it’s all these darn kids slowing you down, and if the fathers & mothers could just unite, you’d make a lot more progress.  But you suppose it’s about the experience and you decide to help the boys take their olives off the branches very slowly.  Nicole doesn’t believe a man who proclaims that olives fresh off the tree are the most bitter and horrid things ever, so she decides to try one herself.  He is right.  Kirby and Frankie both have a great time picking the olives, but Frankie seems to most enjoy playing with the olives that are already in the bin.  Kirby takes his job very seriously, but soon enough it is time to bring the olives to the factory and watch them being pressed.

The assembly line in the oil factory is fascinating to watch; each step is interesting for both children and adults, and you have never seen anything similar before.  First the olives are separated from any stems & leaves, then they go through a few levels of pressing, then the oil is filtered and put into vats to cure.  The pressing room is very noisy, but smells pretty fantastic.  It’s not quite as fun as stomping on the olives would be, but you are still happy to have seen it.  And the best part is to come because you don’t have to wait for this batch of oil to finish – you get to skip right to the tasting room.

There are a few samples of olive oil and pesto & sauce made from the oil.  And there’s lots of bread for dipping.  Nicole decides this is by far the best part of the tour, but the boys have discovered a sculpture to climb on and a little orchard outside to run around in, so you spend most of this time playing.  The gift shop is cleverly attached to the tasting room, so that you are inspired to buy lots & lots of oil and olive oil soap.  You manage to only spend about €20, and head out in the early evening full of delicious oil and happy from the trip.

Just a week later you go to another marriage retreat in Germany again, from Monday through Wednesday.  Thursday is Thanksgiving and Friday is a free day, so you receive the entire week off from work, a very welcome change from the norm.  You can ride the bus with the group and visit Innsbruck, Austria for just Thursday & Friday as planned, or you can drive up to the retreat, then stay Wednesday night in Austria also.  Continue reading if you choose to take the bus and return to Italy for one night, or go to Sixth Adventure: Innsbruck, Austria if you opt to spend a little more for a much longer vacation.

You decide to take the bus, then think about how much longer you will be in the car with two wild little boys.  Innsbruck is quite literally directly on the way back from Germany, and almost 3 hours from your home.  The reduction in travel time is well worth the price of one extra night in the hotel.  Now go to Sixth Adventure: Innsbruck, Austria to read about your Thanksgiving.

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