The thick white plastic bag sat by the front door,

A present from a compatriot, who hailed from Greece up north.

His village’s soil rich and plentiful, the trees glistened from the sunlight.

This fellow countryman who long graced these Australian shores,

Bought a few thousands olive trees for fun and to score.

His harvest for the year was done,

The shiny bag did show.

A gift of ancient fruit

Black olives that looked like round black onyx stones, in tow.

“Stop,” my father cried. “I’ll help you carry the jewels within.”

And tipped them in the sink he did

And out came the trove of drupe therein.

Rich harvest: Olives are put into the sink ready for cleaning and sorting. Photo: Dora Houpis

“Stand aside,” my mother said, “An expert must attend.”

“Listen to how my mother used to do this my child, so we can dry cure them tonight.”

I followed her instructions and turned the tap the right amount.

The water slowly running, I was ready for any strife.

The grains of dirt, had to go, and some damaged crop, too.

Dry-curing: The olives are put into colanders to remove their moisture and bitterness. Photo: Dora Houpis

I tossed out the tiny green and brown and grey olives , as they just wouldn’t do.

The fully-grown black olives that were battered and bruised,

I did bid farewell as well, as we wanted only the perfect ones to use.

I got out all the strainers in the pantry and the pans, too,

I needed them to collect the moisture as we did dry-cure.

Plenty of salt: The olives are mixed and covered with rock salt. Photo: Dora Houpis

I put heaps and heaps of rock salt between the crop and then, developed a white hue to shelter the olives in.

I mixed them with my hands and spoons and covered them too,

I repeated the salting process every night, I wiped away the goo.

I watched as the olives shrunk away and put them in one lot.

After weeks, and weeks of drying, the olives were ready for the final wash.

Finished product: The olives are ready to be eaten and shared with friends and family. Photo: Dora Houpis

I dried them on a tray for hours and prepared them for the task.

I placed the bright black olives in each and every jar, what a wonderful ask.

I added olive oil to each and sealed each lid with a kiss.

I gave my jars of olives to friends and relatives,

But never forgot the one

The fellow countryman who grew the sacred olive “moira”(moira) trees in a faraway land in the sun.

*In ancient Greece, the “moriai” (plural of moria) were olive trees that were so religiously significant they were considered state property. The most sacred moria tree is in front of the ancient temple of Erechthleion, or the Temple of Athena Polias, on the Acropolis, in Athens, Greece.