Harvest at the Gioacchini farm in Lazio

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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