The 2nd World Olive Picking Championship will be held from October 11 to 14, 2018 on the Croatian island of Brač.
Participants came here to take part in something that never happened before, to something unknown.
The host of this international event is the charming 16th-century fishing village of Postira on the north coast of the island which is also an olive growing region.
The organizers have put out a call for teams from all over the world to participate in the 2018 competition. The aim of the international event is to foster friendship among olive oil lovers from different parts of the world and provide an opportunity to learn about the island’s olive oil sector.
During the competition, each team’s olive harvesting skills are tested in two categories: traditional hand-picking and modern picking techniques using handheld harvesting rakes. Each team is made up of four members (two women and two men) and the team that picks the most olives within a determined amount of time wins.
At the first championship in 2017, nine teams made up of participants from Croatia, France, Greece, Hungary, Italy, Montenegro, the Netherlands, Slovenia and New Zealand took part.
“The first edition of the World Championship in Olive Picking was really much more than we expected. The people, atmosphere, weather, local people, media, everything,” shared Ivana Jelinčić, the director of the Postira Tourist Board and one of the event organizers.
“Participants came here to take part in something that never happened before, to something unknown. They gave us their confidence and we did our best. Soon they all became friends but also each team also wanted to win. Postira is a small village with only 1,500 people living here so local people knew who the participants were and were hanging out with them in local bars.”
At the 2017 edition, the Croatian team came first with 107.6 kg and the advantage of having Tonko Škarić, known as the fastest olive picker on the island, as part of their four-member team. The Netherlands came second with 86.4 kg, while Hungary followed close behind in third place with 84.4 kg.
Winners took home symbolic medals made of the white stone the island of Brač is famous for, while all participants received a bottle of oil freshly pressed from the olives harvested during the competition.
“The event also generated a lot of media interest,” revealed Jelinčić. “All the main Croatian TV channels came to Postira and the competition was widely reported on TV, online and offline.”
The competition is not all about spending time in the groves and picking olives. There are visits organized around the island to meet local producers, visit the island’s olive oil museum, see a traditional mill, and explore interesting tourist spots like the eco-ethno village of Dol and Zlatni Rat, one of Croatia’s best beaches. Of course, there’s also the opportunity to taste local olive oils as well as those from participating countries.
Brač has only 15,000 residents living on this Adriatic island but one million olive trees grow here. Olives have been cultivated here for centuries and locally-produced extra virgin olive oils have won international awards for their exceptional quality.
The Postira tourist board supports this international event by providing board and lodging for all the participants.
“So far we have confirmed teams from Slovenia, Hungary, Greece, Montenegro, the Netherlands and Croatia,” said Jelinčić. “We’re still receiving applications from participants and would especially like to have people from Spain, Portugal and France join us this year.”
To get in touch with the organizers, visit the website of the Postira Tourist Board.