For the second-straight year, a team from Poland triumphed at the World Olive Picking Championship in Croatia.
Winning the championship last year has brought us unexpected fame in our country. We are really happy not to have disappointed our fans.
Held in Postira, on the island of Brač, the Polish team hand-harvested 48 kilograms of olives, slightly edging second place Croatia by 4 kilograms.
“We are really happy to have defended the title of the world champions, although we didn’t expect it,” said Karol Podborozny, team Poland’s captain.See Also:In Croatia, Students Join Award-Winning Farm for Olive Harvest
“Winning the championship last year has brought us unexpected fame in our country, so this year, apart from hard training and joyful expectation of this unique event, we also felt a lot of pressure,” she added. “We are really happy not to have disappointed our fans.”
Last year, the Polish team tied with one from Israel, harvesting 48.6 kilograms of olives each, slightly edging out runners-up South Africa by 1.4 kilograms.
In the fifth edition of the competition, 11 countries were represented by 10 teams (harvesters from the United States and Canada competed on the North American team), comprising two men and two women each. The eleventh team was comprised of digital nomads from Finland, the Netherlands, England and the U.S.
Bosnia and Herzegovina
Hungary / Germany
Australia / North America (U.S. and Canada)
The 44 competitors combined to harvest 331 kilograms of olives, down from the 396.8 kilograms harvested last year.
Ivana Jelinčić, director of the Postira Tourist Board, told Olive Oil Times that each competitor also receives a small bottle of olive oil as a souvenir.
Along with the harvesting competition, the teams also competed in a trivia contest focusing on olive growing and olive oil production, with the team from Montenegro winning the category. Montenegro triumphed in the harvesting event in 2019.
Organizers said the purpose of the contest is to promote olive growing and traditional products of Postira, a village of about 1,500 residents highly dependent on agriculture, fishing and tourism.
The event has been organized every year since 2017 by local officials, the Postira Tourist Board and an agricultural cooperative.
“The idea came from Ivo Ljubetić Šteka and his wife Eti from Sutivan, our business colleagues and very good friends,” Jelinčić said. “We often talk about possibilities and what to do on island Brač, how to improve the quality of living and quality of visiting (tourism). One day he called me and said, ‘I have an idea,’ and the rest is history.”
After winning the first and second editions of the competition, there was plenty of pressure on the Croatian team to win its record-setting third title this year. “We did our best, but we must admit that team Poland was better this time,” said Katja Cukrov, a local grower.
Jelinčić celebrated the success of the event, which was awarded as the best creative experience in tourism in 2019 by the Creative Tourism Network.
“I am very proud and happy that our championship brings olive lovers from all over the world to our small town every year,” she said. “The delighted reactions of the participants confirm again and again that we are on the right path and that this event promotes Postira tourism and olive growing in the best light.
“The fantastic energy and atmosphere to which both the participants and the organizers jointly contribute keep us going for a long time and encourage us to be even more creative and even better each year,” Jelinčić added.
In the age of social media, she said the event serves as the perfect way to advertise the island’s natural beauty and the fun of coming to harvest competitively in its traditional groves.
“The world championship in olive picking is a huge promotion of oleotourism in Postira and the whole island of Brač,” Jelinčić said. “We had competitors from all over the world, and they shared photos, videos, emotions and impressions in so many ways.”
Registration for the sixth edition of the competition, scheduled for October 2023, opens in January.
“Only one team can represent one country, so those who want to participate have to be very fast to sign up,” Jelinčić concluded. “They have to send names and surnames of the team members to our email address when applications are open.”