Cretan Olive Harvest & Vineyard Tour
November 4 - November 9$750
You cannot reap your fruit without helping Nature sow her seeds. – Anonymous
If you ever wondered how an olive becomes the golden oil that flavors our favorite foods; or ever spent a summer in a Mediterranean culture to marvel at the uninhabited groves, barren branches, and idle farmers sipping coffees at cafés, you might think olives magically pick themselves.
This retreat will let you celebrate a traditional olive harvest and the craft of Cretan wine, and see a busier, bustling reality: a Crete empty of tourists and full of its true life. The first rains of winter will have come. The clover will green the landscape from Sicilian brown into Irish green, and the farmers will cross from café to field to finger their plumping fruit, prop up the oldest bent branches of their trees against its weight, and plan when, in the remaining days of sun, to harvest their crop.
Then, as if on a conspired cue, the sleepy culture will awake. Tractors will fill roads once rife with rental cars, farmers, shopkeepers & bankers—people of all castes who never gave up historic family lands—will gather wives, children, nets, branch-beaters, and whatever indigent workers survived the passage across the Libyan Sea; and the area’s entire human family will seem to migrate from town to olive grove. As the week passes, every vehicle, from tractors to Fiat 500s, will sag progressively onto suspension limits as they fill with bursting burlap sacks and lumber down the road to rendering plants—now come to life in every village.
Like all CDR retreats, your experience will start with a pick-up at our local airport, a welcome dinner of introductions, and ample time for settling into rooms and relaxing from travel. To ensure a similarly stress-free departure, we’ll end the program with a final celebration dinner, then provide everyone another night of good sleep at our beautiful lodging venue, Villa Koukouvayia, making sure that folks have an easy departure, with good-byes and a smooth airport drop-off.
The program’s primary experience will be an actual neighborhood harvest where you will witness (and if you wish, join!) the actual beating of the branches and gathering of olives. You’ll then ride along to the rendering plant, see a hundred handsome grandsons of Hercules heft sack after sack from pallet to hopper, and watch as leaves and fruit are sifted, olives are crushed and heated, and the golden oil emerges.
After harvest day, we’ll enjoy a Crete unlike any that the summer tourist sees. We’ll visit a fully organic olive farm to see their harvesting methods, comparing the modern traditions we just experienced with the historic ways of centuries past. We’ll enter a vineyard busy with their autumn grapes to tour and taste the season’s new wines. We’ll walk one of the nearby beaches, famous in countless calendar photos, but now free of crowds and full again of timeless beauty. We’ll share morning breakfasts on one of Villa Koukouvayia’s sunny verandas and share dinners by fireside at tavernas whose exemplary cuisine keeps them open all year. At dusk, we’ll sip wine or tea on the roof terrace, listen across our valley as the flicks of the branch beaters and sound of branch saws quiet, and watch as fires dot the hillsides, burning the pruned olive branches finally free of their summer weight. The stars will come out early to remind us of colder days coming, and the waning October moon will lift over the tiny chapel on the opposite hill.
In short, this experience will remind you of the power when human traditions and natural cycles align, and—like all CDR retreats—will do so while you enjoy the friend’s you’ve brought, and the friends you’ve made while here.
Program Length: 5 Days, 5 Nights
Minimum Participants (for program confirmation): 6 by August 6th 2023.
Maximum Participants: 17
Lodging Venue: Villa Koukouvayia Farms, Kaloudiana Crete.
Supplements & Discounts Available:
- $35 Group Signup Discount. (5% per person for every group of 3 or more who sign up together.)
- $150 Independent Lodging Credit
- Premium &/or Single-Room Supplements
- Extra-Occupancy & Non-Standard-Room Credits
Payment Currency: $USD$