Poland Retains Title at World Olive Picking Championship

The four-member team harvested 48.6 kilgrams of olives, slightly edging out hosts Croatia at the fifth edition of the contest.

Team Poland (Photo: Domagoj Blazevic)
Nov. 4, 2022
By Daniel Dawson
Team Poland (Photo: Domagoj Blazevic)

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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.- Karol Podborozny, Team Poland

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.”

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Team Poland (Photo: Domagoj Blazevic)

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.

Place
Team
Total (kg)
1
Poland
48
2
Croatia
44
3
Bosnia and Herzegovina
31
4
Digital Nomads
30
5
Hungary / Germany
29
6
Montenegro
27
7
England
25
8
Australia / North America (U.S. and Canada)
23
9
Serbia
22

The 44 com­peti­tors com­bined to har­vest 331 kilo­grams of olives, down from the 396.8 kilo­grams har­vested last year.

The olives were later trans­formed into extra vir­gin olive oil at a local mill and will be sold under the island’s Protected Designation of Origin cer­ti­fi­ca­tion.

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.

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Digital Nomads team (Photo: Domagoj Blazevic)

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.”

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(Photo: Domagoj Blazevic)

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.

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A strategy session for Team England (Photo: Domagoj Blazevic)

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.”


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