`Poland and Israel Win Fourth World Championship of Olive Picking in Postira, Croatia - Olive Oil Times

Poland and Israel Win Fourth World Championship of Olive Picking in Postira, Croatia

Oct. 13, 2021
Paolo DeAndreis

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Teams from Poland and Israel man­aged to win the 4th World Championship in Olive Picking. The unique con­test took place from October 7th to 10th among the orchards on the slopes of the Croatian Brač island, one of the beau­ti­ful Adriatic islands, where inhab­i­tants began grow­ing olives more than two thou­sand years ago.

The two win­ning teams each col­lected 48.6 kg of olives, fin­ish­ing tied in what was con­sid­ered the tight­est com­pe­ti­tion since the event first took place.

All of the olives col­lected by the teams were set to be processed into extra vir­gin olive oil under the region’s Protected Designation of Origin (PDO) cer­ti­fi­ca­tion.

The sec­ond-place fin­ish­ers from South Africa gath­ered 47.2 kilo­grams of fruits, con­firm­ing their com­pet­i­tive­ness that resulted in third place in the pre­vi­ous edi­tion. This time, the third-place spot went to the Russian team which har­vested the cen­tury-old olive grove of St. Joseph for 43.4 kilo­grams of hand-picked olives.

The com­pe­ti­tion, aimed at fos­ter­ing olive oil cul­ture in the coun­try and abroad and cel­e­brat­ing local agri­cul­ture, had ten teams com­pet­ing for the title. The reign­ing world cham­pi­ons from Montenegro had to for­feit when a last-minute Covid-19 self-iso­la­tion became nec­es­sary for one of their team mem­bers.

Still, two of those cham­pi­ons man­aged to reach the island to sup­port the event and share their win­ning tips.

competitions-world-poland-and-israel-win-fourth-world-championship-of-olive-picking-in-postira-croatia-olive-oil-times

Participants in the Fourth World Championship of Olive Picking

The com­pe­ti­tion was orga­nized in Postira by a local agri­cul­tural coop­er­a­tive, the Postira Tourist Board and the munic­i­pal­ity.

The teams were com­pet­ing in two dis­ci­plines: speed-pick­ing by hand within a des­ig­nated time limit, and a quiz that tested knowl­edge in the field of olive grow­ing and olive oil pro­duc­tion.

Ortal Elbaz, cap­tain of the Israeli team, said the com­pe­ti­tion was very strong and every­one wanted to win. Still, this is truly a com­pe­ti­tion where the most impor­tant thing is to par­tic­i­pate. The atmos­phere is beau­ti­ful and friendly and the hosts are fan­tas­tic.”

Karol Podborozny, who led the Polish team, attrib­uted the vic­tory to a tough work ethic. Hard-work­ing peo­ple,” he con­cluded. I think that’s the secret. But we are very proud of shar­ing the title with a strong olive nation like Israel.”

competitions-world-poland-and-israel-win-fourth-world-championship-of-olive-picking-in-postira-croatia-olive-oil-times

The 2021 champions

The Croatian national team wound up in the sev­enth posi­tion. It was com­posed by Croatian nota­bles such as cap­tain and rocker Neno Belan, singer Zorica Kondža, actress Nives Ivanković and cel­e­brated alpin­ist Stipe Božić.

Imagine, this is my first time pick­ing olives,” the singing diva Zorica Kondža mused. It is fan­tas­tic for me to see all these cheer­ful peo­ple in the olive grove, how they enjoy the har­vest and share expe­ri­ences with each other, but take the com­pe­ti­tion very seri­ously. A truly won­der­ful expe­ri­ence.”

The quiz part of the com­pe­ti­tion was won by the inter­na­tional team Digital Nomads, with mem­bers com­ing from England, Wales, the Netherlands, the United States and Japan, and whose coach was from Australia.

Ivana Jelinčić, direc­tor of the local Tourist Board, called the event a per­fect blend of agri­cul­ture and tourism.” The par­tic­i­pants and guests, Jelinčić said, are part of the story that our town lives through­out the year.”

In 2019, the event in Postira was awarded by an inter­na­tional tourism orga­ni­za­tion as the best cre­ative expe­ri­ence in tourism,” among as many as 160 reg­is­tered projects from around the world.

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The organizing team in Postira

Croatian olive oil pro­duc­ers have also gar­nered fame on a global level for the out­stand­ing qual­ity of their extra vir­gin olive oils. At the 2021 NYIOOC Championship, the coun­try’s pro­duc­ers won more than 80 Gold and Silver Awards accord­ing to the Official Index of the World’s Best Olive Oils.

The results of the 4th World Olive Picking Championship were:

Place
Team
Total (kg)
1
Poland / Israel
48.6
2
South Africa
47.2
3
Russia
43.4
4
France
43
5
Digital Nomads
41.6
6
Slovenia
39.6
7
Croatia
30.2
8
Slovakia
29.6
9
Hungary
25
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