Coldiretti, Italy’s agricultural interest group and lobby, representing a million and a half members, is reporting that September’s high temperatures have advanced the ripening and harvest date for olives in some cases by a full month. ISAC-CNR (the Institute of Atmospheric Sciences and Climate of the National Research Council) recorded average temperatures of 27° C (80.6 F), some 2.6° or nearly 5° F higher than the average from the 1976 – 2000 time period.
Olio novello, or the new oil, has already been extracted in some places. It is estimated that the high temperatures, the second highest on record since 1800, will reduce olive oil production by about 10 percent. Some areas are seeing as much as a 50 percent reduction. The warmth was accompanied by a reduction in rainfall, which also impacts the quantity. On the upside, the quality of the oil is supposed to be good.
In the south, where most of Italy’s olive oil is produced, the interest group said “In the zones of the Mezzogiorno (Puglia, Calabria, Sicily) the situation resembles the spots on a leopard, with some areas being more exposed to the end of Summer’s high temperatures.” The high temperatures have had an effect on wine production, as well as on many other of fruits and vegetables.