As nearly all picking is still done by hand, it is important that the
trees do not get too tall; traditionally the most desirable shape of
tree was a 'goblet' form with no limbs growing inwards, although modern
practice favours a much lower form, with no main trunk and an almost
bush-like appearance to the tree.
The traditional olive grove ranges up and down a terraced hillside,
often on seemingly unworkably steep slopes, and an 'average' farm would
have well over a hundred trees, never planted too close together and
usually with all sorts of different varieties within the same grove.
There is only one harvest (the raccolta) per year, and the means
of doing this have remained more or less unchanged over the centuries.