Croatian olive growers’ empathy was displayed at the recent Olive Days event in Zadar, Dalmatia, along with their high-quality extra virgin olive oils.
Money raised from food and beverage sales at the event was donated to Zadar General Hospital’s cancer center to help fund the purchase of new equipment.
The remainder of the extra virgin olive oil samples submitted to the quality contest was given to a local charity after the judges completed their evaluations.See Also:Latest Awards Confirm the Rising Quality of Croatian Extra Virgin Olive Oils
“It’s good to do good,” said Benito Pucar, president of the Olive Days organizing committee.
The Association of Olive Growers of Zadar County has also been involved in charitable efforts in the community. Its members recently gathered to prune the olive trees of two local growers who could not do so due to illness.
“The olive tree gives us the valuable gift of its oil, which brings people together,” association president Ivica Vlatković said.
Goran Sinovčić from Novigrad suffered from kidney failure, while Marko Nakić from Vukšić had a complex heart operation that saved his life.
Nakić was urgently sent to Zagreb, Croatia’s capital, for surgery. When the association members found out, they quickly organized themselves and completed pruning his 300 20-year-old trees following best practices.
“I don’t know how to thank my olive grower friends,” said Nakić, who is recovering. “Many thanks to everyone who came to help.”
Shortly after pruning Nakić’s groves, association growers went to Sinovčić’s groves in Novigrad, about 30 kilometers north, to complete the polyconic pruning of his trees.
Described as the latest fad among Dalmatian olive growers, the method – commonly used in Istria and Italy – reduces the woody mass-to-leaf ratio, which exposes the entire crown of the tree to the sun, reduces unnecessary energy expenditure and activates latent buds.
“There was a lot of work on both olive groves, and we successfully completed them,” Vlatković said.
He said the sense of community among Dalamtia’s olive growers is part of the sector’s culture, concluding that teamwork in the olive groves keeps the community grounded in traditional values in the face of a rapidly modernizing world.