Last week pumpkins got pushed to the side, so to speak, when students at Sacred Heart’s lower and upper schools harvested olives from the 50-tree, 100-year-old grove along Elena Avenue in Atherton.

In the early part of last century, the Religious of the Sacred Heart (RSCJ), who ran the school, tended to the trees and harvested the olives. But as time went on, the trees became less of an agricultural crop and more of a natural part of the campus landscape.

In 2008, Paul and Nancy Sallaberry, parents at the school, helped reinstate the tradition, this time to press the olives into premium olive oil to sell as a fundraiser for the high school, Sacred Heart Preparatory (SHP).

The fruit is taken off-site to be milled into the highly sought-after extra virgin olive oil, which will be sold at the annual Sacred Heart Holiday Boutique from November 28 to 30. Students will bottle the olive oil on campus in early November in 250ml bottles with a label designed by SHP sophomore Allegra Torres-Kelly.

The funds raised at the Boutique will benefit the SHP Parents’ Association. Boutique hours are November 28 and 29 from 8:00 am to 3:30 pm, and November 30 from 8:00 am to noon, located in the SHS Main Building, 150 Valparaiso Avenue, Atherton.

Harvesting the Koroneiki and Arbosana olives “continues a tradition of educating students about how food products arrive from tree to table, and upholds a mandate from the founding RSCJ to be responsible for creation and be stewards of the earth,” said Dr. Stewart Slafter, director of the sustainable garden and farm program at SHS.

Photos courtesy of Sacred Heart Schools

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