Friday, August 25, 2006

Hazelnut Harvest


Each year, in August, everyone around us spends a week in the orchards picking the hazelnuts by hand. The nuts are spread out on the ground to dry in the sun for another week. After that, they must be husked. The first year we came here we helped our neighbors husk each nut by hand. Folks would stay up until the wee hours of the night drinking tea, talking and husking while sitting on the ground in a circle with enough hazelnuts in the center to fill a driveway. We have always helped harvest them and our children think it is more fun than an American amusement park.

Last year, a strange-looking, orange contraption drove up to a nearby yard, two men got out with a large hose and sucked up the hazelnuts. Lo and behold, out came beautiful, husked nuts on the other side. It took 20 minutes and cost 20 dollars! That's what you call 'progress.'


Yesterday, that same truck came by with no warning. My neighbor was not ready. Her husband and other family members weren't home. All my children were sick except for my oldest. So she and I did our best to help. It was backbreaking work. The temperature was near 100. We had to load about 50 large baskets as fast as we could, carry them up a hill and pour them out on the ground in front of our home. This had to be done before the rather grumpy machine man gave up and left. We worked feverishly for 1/2 an hour but completed the job before the truck passed us by for another.


This is my daughter and my neighbor feeding the vacuum hose with nuts. I wish I had more pics but I had to sneak these. They don't like their picture being taken. Afterwards, we enjoyed lemonade in front of a fan. And today... well, I can hardly move.


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