By Sofia, Nov 11 2019 07:57PM
Beautiful sunny days are still with us but there is no doubt that the main season is over. On the ferry that Bernd and Ute left, to catch a plane back to Germany, the last of the excursion coaches are loaded for their mainland storage or winter functions. Yet meanwhile, for keen swimmers, the beaches are empty and the sea still warm.
Regarding our everyday life; olive harvesting has accelerated and the communal oil press is busy in operation, pressing the harvested olives brought in by their owners into high quality olive oil. This is to last them for two years, as on Skopelos the olive trees yield a crop biannually.
Weather forecast shows that our sunny warm days are to stay with us for awhile yet and the brave and culturally open-minded visitors who come to us at this time, if they so wish, can find plenty to occupy them. The locals welcome a helping hand in harvesting and generously give some olive oil in return. With the autumnal weather setting, pot herbs and mushrooms are there to forage - but careful with the mushrooms! Also, Heather Parsons, our volunteer path and track clearance organiser, always welcomes an extra pair of helping hands.
Bernd and Ute make last minute checks
Excursion coaches loaded for mainland
Olive berries ready to be pressed
By Sofia, Oct 16 2019 07:18PM
As the holiday season draws towards the sunny autumnal days some lucky visitors are in for an extra bonus to their holiday.
The olive harvest, a biannual occurrence, is on its way. This is a time when the olive groves of the island become alive with activity, a time of varied forage and action. Owners of the groves are out clearing the land of shrubs and leaves under the trees, to make the harvesting easier. In the process edible potherbs are found and gathered. Furthermore, after the light autumnal rains the sunny days brought out mushrooms - always an exciting pass-time and a delicacy for the islanders.
It's an exciting time for Bernd and Ute from Germany too! They harvested some green olives, ready to be processed and pickled using a recipe popular on our island, which they will try in their home in Germany. It is early for the oil mill to crush the berries for the olive oil, but it is a busy time nevertheless.
Bernd noting down a Skopelos pickling recipe
Pickled olives in brine
Olive groves cleared of shrubs
By Sofia, Sep 28 2019 09:46AM
The season draws to a close and some boat owners, Greek and international, are preparing their boats for dry dock over the winter.
Nowadays, some even choose to dry dock on Skopelos port. This shouldn't be seen as an unusual choice. After all, in years gone by, what is now a car parking place and a beach was a boat building yard, then a main industry of Skopelos island, until steam ships put the industry out of business and to an end.
Meanwhile, the flotilla of leisure sail boats, a familiar sight at the far end of the Skopelos marina, previously the old port, continue to sail strong. These sunny, breezy beautiful days are perfect for their choice of leisure this time of the year!
Boats prepared for dry docking
The sailing flotillas, moored at night, still going strong
By Sofia, Sep 6 2019 09:27PM
Beautiful, isn't it?...and it is a pity that many who witness the beautiful sights of Skopelos harbour at dawn do so because of the early departure of the ferry to catch flights home!
Perhaps this daily multi-coloured dawn sunrise is best thought of as nature's farewell gift to our departing guests, leaving them with a final sweet scent of memories of pleasant times on our beautiful island.
Skopelos harbour at the break of dawn
Helen, herself a regular early riser
The early ferry taking guests away
By Sofia, Aug 28 2019 09:30AM
Vlita (βλήτα) and samphire (κρίταμα) are familiar summer salads on the tables of Skopelos tavernas. Among other, less known edibles on the island, is Purslane or Portulaca oleracea (γλιστρίδα, αντράκλα, τρέβλο). Available throughout our hot summer this easily-foraged, edible weed, with a sour and slightly sweet taste is rich in vitamins E, A and Omega-3 and has many beneficial properties. Popular in Crete and other parts of Greece, in Skopelos, this edible is yet to be accepted as fit for human consumption, instead of being used just as goat fodder.
Food is culture to the French, and this food loving nation may possibly soon bring change to the local lacking of knowledge. Some have gone to the trouble to bring seed from France. Sadly though, for the time being, this healthy readily-available and easily-foraged edible must remain a fodder for the goats, shared with and enjoyed by French visitors and only few of us locals.
Purslane summer salad on the table
Samphire or Kritama
I'm Sofia, 39 Steps' owner and host. This is an occasional blog to keep in touch with my regular guests, give a taste of Skopeliti life and share my experiences of foraging through the summer season
Sofia's 39 Steps Forage Blog