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"Gum Mastic Collection"

As I already said, gum mastic is produced from June until September. Itís not an easy process, itís rather complicated actually.

mastic trees mastic trees

The first thing that has to be done before making the cuttings and collecting the gum mastic is the cleaning and leveling of the ground underneath the Schinos, in a circular area. How does that happen? Early July, the gum mastic producers start to clean the area under the mastic trees with trowels, shovels and Ďxistrií, the specially designed tool for cleaning. The sweeping of the cleaned area follows with a common broom or by using small branches with green leaves. Then, the leveling is done with white clay that has been spread on the ground and pressed well so as to become flat. White clay is preferred to dark because, when gum mastic drops, it gets brilliancy and dries more easily, since white clay is limestone.

 

When all the above processes underneath the trees have finished, the first cutting will then start, on the trunk of the tree. This is 10-14 mm long and 4-5 mm deep, with keditiri and hummer. The number of cuttings is proportional to the size and age of the trees. It starts from 10-20 and goes up to 100 over the whole period. Cutting is done twice a week and lasts for 5-6 weeks. Transverse cutting is preferred, due to easier healing. Morning hours are preferable for the cutting.

 

The coagulation normally lasts from 10 to 15 days, or sometimes even more than 20, depending on weather conditions. When the weather is from the North and the temperature is low, the gum mastic coagulates quicker.

Once the gum mastic has coagulated, the first collection starts with a special tool called timitiri. The large tears are collected first. Also with the timitiri we collect the gum mastic which is coagulated on the trunk of the tree. The rest of the gum mastic on the ground is collected by brooms or by hand. By the use of Ďpanerií, the gum mastic is then put into wooden cases and, from the fields, is transferred to the houses where it is stored in cool places. The first collection is made after the 15th of August, when 6-10 cuttings have been made. After the first cutting, the second cutting occurs. Over 5-6 weeks, every tree has to be cut 10-12 times.

  

The second collection is made after the 15th of September and, this time, the farmers make sure they collect all the tears from the trunk and from the ground. As I said before, according to Law 4381, collection ends on the 15th of October every year.

  

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