Olive Harvest Underway in Italy

Some producers are already at work, while many others are getting ready for a new olive oil campaign committed to the highest standards of quality.

Harvest at the Gioacchini farm in Lazio
Oct. 7, 2019
By Ylenia Granitto
Harvest at the Gioacchini farm in Lazio

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The olive har­vest­ing sea­son has begun for Ital­ian pro­duc­ers, and while some are already work­ing at full speed, many oth­ers are still get­ting ready and wait­ing for the right point of ripeness in their fruits.

In west­ern Sicily, at Bona Fur­tuna, the first dru­pes of Bian­co­l­illa Centi­nara were picked in mid-Sep­tem­ber, fol­lowed by Nocel­lara del Belice and Pas­su­lu­nara. At Titone farm, the last week of the month marked the start of the cam­paign with the col­lec­tion of Bian­co­l­illa.

This year, pro­duc­tion is var­ied depend­ing on the area, as we found a non-uni­form amount of fruits on the trees in the dif­fer­ent plots, but on the other hand the good weather gave us very healthy olive.- Gio­vanni Gioac­chini, pro­ducer of Solum in Lazio

Fur­ther north, most of the farm­ers waited a few more days or weeks to kick-off, with an inten­si­fi­ca­tion of activ­ity com­ing in the sec­ond week of Octo­ber. Over the course of the rest of the month, pro­duc­ers through­out the penin­sula will take to the field to begin the 2019 har­vest.

In Lazio, Gio­vanni Gioac­chini, the pro­ducer of Solum, planned to first col­lect Cani­nese for his mono­va­ri­etal and then con­tinue with Lec­cino, Fran­toio, and Moraiolo for his blend, which was awarded Best in Class at the 2019 NYIOOC World Olive Oil Com­pe­ti­tion.

After the last eval­u­a­tions with our agron­o­mist, we decided to start on Octo­ber 7,” he said.

See more: 2019 Har­vest News

In the ter­ri­tory of Tus­ca­nia, on the gen­tle hills of south­ern Maremma, Gioacchini’s olive trees are scat­tered over almost 62 acres of land, alter­nat­ing with pas­tures, on a soil rich in vol­canic pumice.

This year, pro­duc­tion is var­ied depend­ing on the area, as we found a non-uni­form amount of fruits on the trees in the dif­fer­ent plots, but on the other hand the good weather gave us very healthy olives,” Gioc­chini said.

He added that they made use of irri­ga­tion only on rare occa­sions, since the opti­mal cli­mate allowed good soil water sup­ply, unlike last year which was much drier.

Also, the olive fruit fly has not shown up,” he said. We are con­fi­dent for this new har­vest.”

In the Marche region, at L’Olinda olive farm, which won two awards at the 2019 NYIOOC, Francesco Sab­ba­tini Ros­setti planned an early har­vest for his plants of Rosci­ola Colli Esini, Rag­gia, and Mignola. The fam­ily com­pany, which includes a mill and 173 acres of sec­u­lar and young olive trees, is expand­ing its pro­duc­tion as they recently planted Ascolana Ten­era, Piantone di Mogliano, and Coro­ncina.

Our olive groves are located in var­i­ous areas of the province of Ancona with dif­fer­ent alti­tudes, soils, and cli­mate con­di­tions,” he said, explain­ing that each grove has its own micro­cli­mate due to this unique ter­rain. More­over, organic man­age­ment leads us to great but dif­fer­ent results every year.”

This sea­son, the Mignola plants are in great shape, since this vari­ety is grown at a higher alti­tude than the other ones, which, due to a dif­fer­ent expo­sure, are still pay­ing for the con­se­quences of the Burian’ cold wave,” Sab­ba­tini Ros­setti added, explain­ing that in the lower, south-fac­ing groves, the veg­e­ta­tive activ­ity of the plants had already started when the cold snap hap­pened, and after­wards the olive trees looked burnt, with seri­ous dam­age and almost no pro­duc­tion.

Olive tree expan­sion under­way aty L’Olinda farm.

Despite a slight drop in vol­umes, we are expect­ing a great cam­paign in terms of qual­ity,” he said, Fur­ther­more, the pres­ence of the olive fruit fly is now under con­trol. We are ready to start.”

Mean­while, Per­an­zana and Lec­cino will be col­lected in mid to late Octo­ber on the Adri­atic coast of Puglia, at Oilalá farm.

Coratina, which is a late-ripen­ing vari­ety, will be the last to go to the mill,” Spiros Bor­rac­cino said. Some years ago, for cli­matic rea­sons that slowed the ripen­ing process, we picked these fruits in early Decem­ber. How­ever, this year we had favor­able weather con­di­tions thanks to a very hot, low-rain­fall sum­mer and a warm Sep­tem­ber, which have fos­tered the healthy devel­op­ment processes of the dru­pes.”

He added that since the rain fell at the right moments, dur­ing the warmer months they hardly needed to irri­gate the orchards.

Olives being har­vested at Oilalá.

More­over, a deter­min­ing fac­tor for the proper devel­op­ment of fruits was the sig­nif­i­cant dif­fer­ence between day and night tem­per­a­tures in July and August,” he said. The day was very hot while at night the tem­per­a­ture dropped by 10 degrees Cel­sius (50 degrees Fahren­heit), offer­ing ideal con­di­tions for the healthy growth of our fruits.”

Oilalá’s main groves are located in the ter­ri­to­ries of Bar­letta and Min­ervino Murgie, and recently an almost 10-acre olive grove in Valle d’Itria has been added to the prop­erty.

We decided to expand our com­pany and pro­duce more high qual­ity extra vir­gin olive oil,” the Puglian pro­ducer con­cluded.

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