By Sofia, Nov 25 2017 04:41PM
Skopelos has a new olive press situated in the middle of the Drakondoschisma forest, between Stafylos and Agnondas on the West coast.
Being brand new equipment, it lacks the character of the old press in Skopelos town, which a private owner has rented to the cooperative of olive growers since the 1920's.
However, the new press is much more practical and makes the loads easier to handle. It is also easier to access: growers can deliver right to the facility and then park their vans, pick-ups or other transport in the spacious forecourt.
The quality of the oil is very good this season with high yield and low acidity. It is acidity which determines the quality of the oil and this season a large amount of the oil yield is within the acceptable level of below two degrees. My friend Virgil's oil pressed from the berries we harvested is especially good quality at only 0.3 degrees…
The new olive press faciity in the forest
Fork lift trucks are available to move the olives into the facility
The press itself
Olives are bathed before a conveyor belt takes them to the crusher
By Sofia, Nov 17 2017 07:31PM
Ripe times on Skopelos
A regular guest reminded me that it has been some time since the last blog entry. Much has happened since…
There was the prune harvest, this year a bumper crop, as was the citrus fruit harvest, with only lemons in any sort of shortage.
Right now we are in the middle of our olive harvest. Usually this is a biannual event, but awkward weather in the last two years threw the sequence out of balance and we are now in the fifth year since the last crop.
Finally however, we are now harvesting an unblemished bumper crop, which is being pressed in a huge new olive oil press halfway between Stafylos and Agnondas on the West of the island.
Not having an olive grove of my own, I gave a helping hand for couple of days to Virgil and Athina from the Livadiotisa monastery. Olive harvesting is an intens, busy and physcial activity. It is something I've enjoyed getting involved to help friends.
Me, harvesting across the Bay from Skopelos Old Town
Friends Virgil and Athina at work
A ripe crop
By Sofia, Oct 17 2017 08:37PM
In addition to the beautiful coastline of Skopelos, the interior of the island is laced with pedestrian thruways.
In the past, before motorised transport, these were the means for the islanders to visit neighbours, churches, springs and in general to commute across the island.
Over the years, a mixture of disuse and weather conditions mean that nature has often taken back what is hers.
Organised and led by my friend Heather, visiting WORKAWAY volunteers reinstate the original paths, which are sometimes nothing more than a vague recollection in the memory of the older generation.
Heather's walking guide 'Skopelos Trails' records the regained paths and gives a direction of paths and kalderimis for walkers - from Skopleos and elsewhere - to enjoy the island from a different perspective.
39 Steps guests enjoying some of the interior paths
More walking on paths of the interior
WORKAWAY volunteers come for a meal at 39 Steps (Heather dressed in white)
By Sofia, Oct 7 2017 06:23PM
The windy weather called for the early morning departure of the Flying CAT4 from Agnondas, our emergency port on the more sheltered west of the island.
About 300 reluctant-to-leave summer visitors, whose holiday has ended, left on the CAT to resume their customary daily lives imbued with their memories of their stay on our island.
Back in town I came upon scenes easily recognised this time of the year.
The familiar green van which delivers supplies of winter food of pulses and similar direct from the growers in the north of Greece was doing lively business with the islanders.
Across from the van, other community members scrutinised the haul of a fisherman who braved the weather and came back to sell his catch direct from his boat.
All mark the beginning of the coming winter.
Winter pulses direct from producers
Contemplating the daily catch on the harbourside
By Sofia, Sep 29 2017 08:23PM
Many late in the season visitors observe that on Skopelos a subtle, but nevertheless pervasive bouquet of aroma permeates the air. After the hot summer, the soothing fragrance of pine blends with the strong tang of herbs and the ever so delicate scent of the islands autumn flowers.
See more specimens of autumn flowers on Sue Warren's blog:
Cyclamen: bunnies out of a warren
Fennel blooms: milky way on earth
Purple heather covers the entire eastern side of the island
Queen of the thistle: wards off predators with sharp thorns
Tall quills all over the rocky slopes
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