I went to harvest olive
in the village of Orient
and I couldn´t eat warm food,
that's why I lost weight.

(Mallorcan folk song)


The grandfather told us that his mother told him that, when she was a child, she went with her mother to harvest olives in the mountain range, La Serra, in the country estates of Estellencs, where she had been born in 1864, and also in Andratx, Calvià, Puigpunyent, Banyalbufar and Esporles.

At that time in Mallorca olives were not shaken from the tree. They waited until they fell down and when this happened, the women and the children at times, went under the century-old trunks over and over again, collecting from the ground the black fruits that would become, once milled and pressed in the oil mill, olive oil.

The salaries of women, as you can imagine, were very low and they received a part of the salary in kind – oil. They had their productivity very controlled: every day they had to fill a certain amount of baskets and if they did not achieve their quota they were fired, and they returned home. The great-grandmother, that had been born when her mother was old, had to contribute her quota and in secrecy with her young, agile fingers, helped to fill up the basket of the mother of the great-grandmother, as the rheumatism did not let her move her fingers with agility and pick olives at the required speed.