Field Report #1
From: Robin and Kathryn at Fat Gold
So, it's summer! What's happening?
There are baby olives on the trees, and inside, their pits have just begun to harden.
It's exciting to see them grow! But, we're entering a dangerous phase. The olives are now large enough to attract the attention of the olive fly, which is the pest we worry about most. If we didn't do anything to repel them, the flies would lay their eggs in a large fraction of our fruit.
Nobody wants fly larvae in their olive oil. 🤢
We've already taken one step to resist the pest—
—which we discussed and documented earlier this season on Instagram.
The next step is clay.
Specifically, kaolin clay, a versatile substance, used for all sorts of things: to make porcelain, to coat paper, as an ingredient in skin care products, and even as a blood-clotting agent; military QuikClot gauze is coated with kaolin clay.
We're going to use it to protect our grove.
We'll mix the clay with water and spray it directly onto the olives, almost as if we're painting them—totally covering their surfaces. The idea is to put the olive flies into a situation like John McClane's in Die Hard:
Rather than crawl across an olive coated with sharp, painful clay particles, the flies will buzz off somewhere else.
That's the idea, anyway 🤞
We'll be applying the clay this coming Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday, and documenting the process on Instagram, so follow along if you're interested!
We're also now looking ahead to the harvest.
It will happen on in late October and/or mid November. The picking will be done by hand, partially using these vibrating rakes (which Robin and Kathryn call "the weird fingers" and "magic wands" respectively) but also the old-fashioned way, with gloves and buckets.
If you, friend of Fat Gold, are interested in joining the harvest in Sunol, California: just email Robin at firstname.lastname@example.org!
We'll then respond with dates and details. It's going to be hard work, but it's also going to be fun—and needless to say, we'll feed our helpers well.
The next Field Report, which we'll send in the fall, will tell you everything you need to know about our subscriptions—sizing, pricing, and how to sign up!
Thanks for following along,
–Robin and Kathryn