Excitement, Anticipation in Slovenia as Harvest Gets Underway

Despite high spring heat and drought, producers are anticipating high quantities of olives along with the excellent quality of the resulting oil.
Strunjan. Slovenia
By Nedjeljko Jusup
Oct. 6, 2022 14:30 UTC

Slovenian olive grow­ers pro­duced this year’s first oil even before the offi­cial start of the olive har­vest on September 30 with Župan’s Olive’s Olive of Trust event.

The first oil was pro­duced on September 18 at the Babić oil mill in Babić near Koper, the largest town in Slovenian Istria, where 90 per­cent of Slovenia’s olives are grown on about 2,000 hectares.

Olive grower Daniel Stojkovič Kukulin did not hide his sat­is­fac­tion with the qual­ity of his first oils of the sea­son.

See Also:2022 Harvest Updates

There are as many as 1,340 mil­ligrams of polyphe­nols in a liter. A real elixir,” Stojkovič said. He was the first in Slovenia to begin har­vest­ing.

Other Slovenian olive grow­ers also showed inter­est in an ear­lier har­vest. Among them are Vanja Dujc, Franc Morgan and Boris Jenko, some of the coun­try’s most suc­cess­ful pro­duc­ers.


Sandi Babič — the first oil was released on September 18 (Photo by Sašo Dravinac)

Many announced that they would start pick­ing olives next week. They are sat­is­fied with the qual­ity of the fruits, and the har­vest is bet­ter than expected, con­sid­er­ing the pro­longed sum­mer drought, above-aver­age tem­per­a­tures and mys­te­ri­ous fruit drop in July.

Along with qual­ity, offi­cials from the Institute of Olive Growing in Koper con­firmed that the qual­ity of the first oils they ana­lyzed is also very high.

So far, the oils have a very high polyphe­nol con­tent. This means they are bit­ter and spicy oils, rich in antiox­i­dants and likely to main­tain their qual­ity for longer. Previously, researchers have shown that polyphe­nol counts in olive oils are higher after dry sum­mers.

In addi­tion, drought and high tem­per­a­tures did not favor the devel­op­ment of dis­eases, such as pea­cock eye, or pests, such as the olive fruit fly.

The bac­te­r­ial blight of olive trees, which has caused enor­mous dam­age in recent years in neigh­bor­ing Italy, was not noticed either.

The share of dam­aged fruits due to olive fly attacks is sig­nif­i­cantly lower than in 2021,” said Milena Bučar Miklavčić, head of the afore­men­tioned lab­o­ra­tory.

She com­pared this year’s olive grow­ing sea­son with 2003, which was also dry but yielded a record-high amount of olives. The yields in the main olive-grow­ing areas are very high. The oils are spicy, bit­ter and fruity.

We can enjoy aro­mas rem­i­nis­cent of almonds, radic­chio, arti­chokes, green toma­toes, olive leaves and var­i­ous types of fruit,” said Bučar Miklavčić.

Minister of Agriculture Irena Šinko also expressed sat­is­fac­tion with this year’s har­vest. Participating in a tra­di­tional event orga­nized by the munic­i­pal­ity of Izola and the Association of Olive Growers of Slovenian Istria, she wished grow­ers a suc­cess­ful sea­son and empha­sized the impor­tance of olive grow­ing in Slovenia.


Before the start of the harvest in Izola

She added that olive grow­ing is a promis­ing branch of the econ­omy, evi­denced by the increas­ing num­ber of olive grow­ers and groves in the past sev­eral years. She also touched on the drought that caused con­sid­er­able dam­age this sum­mer.

Like last year, the Administration of the Republic of Slovenia for Protection and Rescue also granted state aid to farms that suf­fered dam­age to crops due to the 2022 drought,” she said. Olive grow­ers will also have the right to this assis­tance. The dam­age reports were com­pleted this month.”

Šinko also pre­sented olive grow­ers Slovenia’s national strate­gic plan to imple­ment the lat­est iter­a­tion of the Common Agricultural Policy, which comes into force in January 2023 and runs through 2027.


Minister Irena Šinko surveyed the products of Slovenian olive growers

Slovenia’s national strate­gic plan includes invest­ments in pro­duc­tion and mar­ket­ing and pro­mot­ing coop­er­a­tive farm­ing mea­sures. The CAP also focuses on mit­i­gat­ing the impacts of cli­mate change and intro­duced agro-cli­mate pay­ments for farm­ers affected by extreme weather events.

Šinko added that this year there were changes in the use of olive pomace as fer­til­izer:

This means that under cer­tain con­di­tions, olive grow­ers will be able to use olive pomace as fer­til­izer on agri­cul­tural land,” she said. Oil mills will have to ensure proper stor­age of olive pomace.”

Overall, olives grow on 2,500 hectares in Slovenia. The aver­age annual har­vest is about 1,940 tons of fruit, from which pro­duc­ers yield 900 tons of oil. However, this is too lit­tle to meet domes­tic demand, so the coun­try imports more than 2,000 tons of olive oil annu­ally.


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