` Olive Growers and Producers Support Compatriots in Italy - Olive Oil Times

Olive Growers and Producers Support Compatriots in Italy

Mar. 30, 2020
Ylenia Granitto

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As Italy’s coro­n­avirus death toll sur­passes the 10,000 mark with more than 94,000 con­firmed cases, many of the coun­try’s busi­nesses have ground to a halt with agri­cul­ture among the excep­tions.

Facing the most dif­fi­cult cri­sis since World War II,” Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte stressed now was the moment for the gov­ern­ment and Italy’s peo­ple to take respon­si­bil­ity and face the ongo­ing eco­nomic, health and social chal­lenges together.

In this dif­fi­cult moment, every sin­gle action has value.- Carmen Bonfante, man­ager at Evo Sicily

This is the moment for respon­si­bil­ity,” he said. The gov­ern­ment guar­an­tees the utmost com­mit­ment, but every­body is involved.”

A few days ear­lier, a decree had been signed to impose the clo­sure of nonessen­tial fac­to­ries and social dis­tanc­ing mea­sures in all regions of the coun­try. Previously, these types of mea­sures had only existed in Italy’s north­ern provinces.

See Also: COVID-19 News

The health emer­gency, now, is first in our thoughts,” Nicolangelo Marsicani, a pro­ducer and miller, told Olive Oil Times. In this time of insta­bil­ity and dis­may, I felt the duty to trans­mit warmth and close­ness to the peo­ple with whom I share the same pas­sion, as well as a pro­fes­sional and edu­ca­tional path, orga­niz­ing our usual work in a new way.”

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Marsicani invited tasters to join a Facebook group and sent out six mono­va­ri­etals of Coratina in accor­dance with the rec­om­mended health and hygiene pro­ce­dures.

When all the tasters received the olive oils, they tasted them and com­pleted an online pro­file sheet. Afterward, they shared their eval­u­a­tions through live stream­ing on Facebook. They then dis­cussed the olive oils, exchang­ing expe­ri­ences and opin­ions.

This is also a way to give each other courage,” Marsicani said. Hopefully, thanks to doc­tors, nurses and all other health work­ers, with the col­lab­o­ra­tion of us cit­i­zens, this will be over soon, and we will begin to taste our extra vir­gin olive oils all together again.”

As basic ser­vices, includ­ing agri­cul­tural activ­i­ties, con­tinue to func­tion, Italian olive grow­ers are in the field.

We con­tinue to work, despite the dif­fi­cult sit­u­a­tion, in order to ensure our high-qual­ity pro­duc­tions to con­sumers,” Federico Di Benedetto, from the Gagliardi farm told Olive Oil Times.

Gagliardi farm pro­duces mono­va­ri­etal oils along with a blend of Gentile di Chieti, Dritta, Cipressino and Leccino in the cen­tral region of Abruzzo, using low-impact and sus­tain­able farm­ing meth­ods.

We are going on with the usual prac­tices to take care of our land, closely fol­low­ing the mea­sures taken by the author­i­ties and also, most impor­tantly, try­ing to help those who are on the front line in the health cen­ters,” Di Benedetto said.

Along with his daily tasks in the olive grove, Di Benedetto is also work­ing to raise money to build an inten­sive care unit in a nearby town, which would serve res­i­dents from more than 40 small rural and moun­tain vil­lages.

This is our way of show­ing grat­i­tude to our won­der­ful ter­ri­tory, where our extra vir­gin olive oils are born,” Di Benedetto said.

His words echo the call to action from Antonio G. Lauro, a NYIOOC World Olive Oil Competition panel mem­ber, who is also help­ing to raise money for new med­ical equip­ment for four dif­fer­ent hos­pi­tals in the south­ern province of Reggio Calabria.

Agricultural areas are often more in need of med­ical equip­ment,” Lauro said. That’s why this kind of ini­tia­tive deserves atten­tion. In this dif­fi­cult moment, we also try to give sup­port to all those who work in the hos­pi­tals.”

This action is very impor­tant for my birth­place, to which I owe my first intro­duc­tion to the world of extra vir­gin olive oil,” Lauro added. Unity is strength, and now every­one’s help is needed to get us through this emer­gency soon, in the best pos­si­ble way.”

Along with try­ing to raise money via fundrais­ing cam­paigns, other Italian pro­duc­ers are try­ing to do their part to help Italians com­bat COVID-19 by donat­ing pro­ceeds from their sales to char­ity.

In this dif­fi­cult moment, every sin­gle action has value,” Carmen Bonfante, a man­ager at Evo Sicily said. For this rea­son, we want to play our part, and for each bot­tle of our mono­va­ri­etal Embrace’ sold, we will donate a por­tion of the pro­ceeds (€3.00 or $3.30) to the Civil Protection that sup­port the national health struc­tures.”

In Campobello di Mazara, in west­ern Sicily, Bonfante and her busi­ness part­ner, Giusy Gambini, are fully ded­i­cated to a thou­sand plants of Nocellara del Belice and a hun­dred of Biancolilla, get­ting ready for their sec­ond pro­duc­tion year.

Especially at this his­toric moment, we feel it our duty to do every­thing we can to be wor­thy chil­dren of this extra­or­di­nary land, Italy,” Bonfante said. We believe that sol­i­dar­ity is an invest­ment that never fails; we believe that many small drops of olive oil can cre­ate a new ocean of human­ity.”





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