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.

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See Also: 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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