Europe

En Slovénie, travailler dur et rester simple

Franc Morgan a planté ses premiers arbres il y a trente ans dans sa ferme de Grintovec. Il s’est tourné vers l’agriculture biologique depuis le début et il est devenu l’un des premiers producteurs d’huile d’olive biologique en Slovénie.

Franz Morgan
Avril 2, 2019
Par Pablo Esparza
Franz Morgan

Nouvelles Récentes

Franc Morgan’s farm is steps away from his family’s house in Grin­tovec, a small vil­lage with a pop­u­la­tion of around 80 in Sloven­ian Istria.

Je pensais qu'avec peu de travail nous pourrions planter des oliviers. Puis nous avons réalisé que ce n'était pas un petit travail mais beaucoup de travail.- Franc Mor­gan

His dog Col­lie — a black and white bor­der col­lier — fol­lows him while he walks down the unpaved path lead­ing to the olive grove, planted in ter­races that make the slope of the hill like a huge stair­way.

"I started from noth­ing, from zero. Just from scratch. Thirty years ago we planted the first 200 olive trees. Then 200 more… And now I believe we have around 1,000 trees”, Mor­gan tells Olive Oil Times.






Morgan’s fam­ily had always pro­duced oil for self-con­sump­tion, like many oth­ers on the coast of Slove­nia, the only region of the Euro­pean coun­try where the cli­mate allows olive trees farm­ing. How­ever, after his father died, Franc started think­ing about what to do with his land in order to keep it pro­duc­tive.

"Je pensais qu'avec peu de travail nous pourrions planter des oliviers. Puis nous avons réalisé que ce n'était pas un petit travail mais beaucoup de travail », dit-il en riant.

Devenir biologique faisait partie des plans de Morgan depuis le début et il est devenu l'un des premiers huile d'olive bio producteurs du pays.

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"Nowa­days it’s easy grow­ing organic, but 15 or 20 years ago there was not a sin­gle reg­is­tered prod­uct in Slove­nia, let’s say, to treat the olive fly,” he says.

Lorsqu'on lui a demandé comment c'était de produire huile d'olive bio in Slove­nia, Morgan’s answer is straight­for­ward. "It’s as if grow­ing organic was the nat­ural path. We just con­tinue doing things like it’s always been done”, Mor­gan says.

"Nous avons de très bonnes terres pour produire de l'huile biologique. Parce que comme vous pouvez le voir, autour de nous, il n'y a que des forêts. Il n'y a pas de circulation, il n'y a pas d'usines qui nuisent à nos oliviers », ajoute-t-il.

Slove­nia has an annual production d'huile d'olive of around 400 tons, accord­ing to the Inter­na­tional Olive Coun­cil, far from neigh­bor­ing Croa­tia, with 4,000 tons, Italy, with more than 185,000 and Spain with 1.6 mil­lion.

The view from the mid­dle of the grove offers a panorama of a quin­tes­sen­tial Sloven­ian Istrian land­scape: a deep val­ley sur­rounded by hills where forests, vines and olive groves coex­ist.

It’s as if every hill had to be crowned by its own vil­lage. Smarje, on the left side, Grin­tovec, on the right, and Padna, with its sub­tle sky­line and Venet­ian-like bell tower, on the other side of the dale.

With a pro­duc­tion of around 1,500 liters per year, the qual­ity of Morgan’s organic oil is widely acknowl­edged. In 2018, the Mor­gans a remporté un Gold Award pour leur mélange de milieu organique à la NYIOOC Concours mondial d'huile d'olive.

He sells 80 per­cent of the oil locally, export­ing the rest, mainly to Ger­many, Aus­tria and Italy.

Franc Morgan

"Nous avons des clients depuis 20 ans et je suis content que cela reste ainsi. J'apprécie vraiment la confiance de nos clients », dit-il.

"Buy­ers from places like Hong Kong have shown inter­est in our oil and have asked me to send them a ship­ping con­tainer. But all our annual pro­duc­tion fits in a sin­gle con­tainer,” he jokes.

On some ter­races there are three rows of trees, oth­ers are just 4 meters wide and have room enough for just one line of trees. Some of them are recently planted. Oth­ers are around 30 years old.

Sev­enty per­cent of Morgan’s olive trees are Istrian Bel­ica, or Istrian White, the most com­mon cul­ti­var in this part of the Adri­atic coast. The rest of the farm con­sists of a mix of Lec­cino, Mau­rino and Buga vari­eties.

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Being in the extreme north strip of the Adri­atic, frost is a con­stant threat for olive trees in this region, Mor­gan says, as he points to some trees affected by last year’s low tem­per­a­tures, which reached ‑8°C below zero (17.6°F).

"Nous avons 1,000 XNUMX arbres, mais je pense que cela suffit pour le moment », dit-il à OOT.

His is a fam­ily busi­ness run by him­self, his wife and their two daugh­ters. But, as often hap­pens among Sloven­ian olive oil pro­duc­ers, all have other jobs apart from the oil pro­duc­tion.
"Every day, when we chat at home we talk about oil, olives… That’s how we live. This is our life and I am happy that it is this way,” Mor­gan says.

"Lorsque vous avez passé 25 ou 30 ans avec les oliviers, vous êtes comme un olivier à l'intérieur. Je connais tous mes arbres par cœur. Là où il y a l'un et l'autre… Ils vous absorbent mais avec une énergie positive. Quand je viens ici dans l'oliveraie, je ne me sens plus mal. »


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