`Legacy Meets Innovation at Tuscany’s Azienda Pometti - Olive Oil Times

Legacy Meets Innovation at Tuscany’s Azienda Pometti

By Paolo DeAndreis
Apr. 9, 2024 12:41 UTC

A remark­able fusion of a fam­ily legacy dat­ing back to the 16th cen­tury and the adop­tion of state-of-the-art tech­nolo­gies earned Azienda Pometti a Gold Award at the 2024 NYIOOC World Olive Oil Competition for the sec­ond con­sec­u­tive year.

The company’s organic extra vir­gin olive oil, L’Olio Bio, is pro­duced from roughly 1,500 olive trees scat­tered across the Tuscan hills in the Val d’Orcia, near Siena. This expan­sive organic and tra­di­tional grove is home to Leccino and Pendolino olive vari­eties.

The prob­lem with large por­tions of today’s agri­cul­ture is the wide­spread use of prob­a­bly out­dated tech­niques. Nature is not being heard any­more.- Luca Perotti, man­ag­ing direc­tor, Azienda Pometti

Carlotta Pometti, the owner of the estate, has a long­stand­ing his­tory of pro­duc­ing olive oil, wine, spelt, a species of wheat, and laven­der essen­tial oils.

A few years back, her fam­ily com­mit­ted to revamp­ing their olive oil pro­duc­tion processes, embrac­ing new agro­nomic prac­tices, form­ing part­ner­ships with a locally cel­e­brated olive oil mill and inte­grat­ing mod­ern tech­nol­ogy directly in the groves.

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Carlotta Pometti with her children, Ada and Cesare (Photo: Carlotta Pometti)

Luca Perotti, Carlotta’s spouse and the com­pa­ny’s man­ag­ing direc­tor, said that the Gold Award was an unex­pected delight and a reaf­fir­ma­tion fol­low­ing a year filled with chal­lenges.

We are extremely happy and excited about this result,” Perotti said. We knew our extra vir­gin olive oil was really good, as we worked so hard to achieve this goal.”

The NYIOOC wins boosted new projects and activ­i­ties at the Pometti farm. Winning in New York was an awak­en­ing, as it helped us under­stand that we were on the right path,” Perotti said. Even more, it prompted us to invest more and explore new approaches to olive farm­ing.”

Right now, we are plan­ning a new three-hectare expan­sion where we will test an old but inno­v­a­tive approach,” he added. Starting this year, we will plant trees on a tra­di­tional set, even a bit vin­tage, as the trees will have a six-meter dis­tance among them,” Perotti said.

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Providing such wide spaces among the trees accom­plishes sev­eral goals. According to our stud­ies, we have seen that such dis­tances allow the trees to live a health­ier, longer life,” Perotti said. It also allows us to move around each tree bet­ter, which eases car­ing for the trees.”

Furthermore, such wide dis­tances reduce the need for treat­ments to cur­tail pests and pathogens,” he added. Distance ham­pers the pathogen’s abil­ity to spread, allows air to flow more eas­ily through the branches and pre­vents the trees from com­pet­ing for resources.”

According to Perotti, this tra­di­tional setup was once stan­dard in the region. Presently, it aligns with a regen­er­a­tive agri­cul­tural approach to olive cul­ti­va­tion that focuses on pre­serv­ing and enhanc­ing soil health, as well as bol­ster­ing local bio­di­ver­sity and the crops’ resilience to stress fac­tors.

The com­pany employs highly advanced tools for mon­i­tor­ing soil mois­ture and tree health using elec­tronic and dig­i­tal infra­struc­tures.

These tech­nolo­gies facil­i­tate the pre­cise bal­anc­ing of direct field inter­ven­tions, whether for irri­ga­tion pur­poses or treat­ments to mit­i­gate spe­cific pathogens.

We have an organic approach to olive farm­ing, and even in such con­text, we tend to treat our plants only when absolutely needed,” Perotti said.

It is all part of a holis­tic approach. This was the norm in older times; we are plant­ing new trees for our fam­ily and descen­dants,” he said. Our trees are meant to live for a long time, a dis­tant real­ity from the short-lived olive trees grown in the highly inten­sive orchards we see nowa­days in other regions.”

The fam­ily farm already plans to expand the new olive groves from three to 20 hectares in the near future.

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For the Pometti fam­ily, agro­nom­ics and tech­nol­ogy are viewed as reme­dies to many of today’s chal­lenges, includ­ing the effects of cli­mate change.

If peo­ple keep plow­ing the soil around the olive trees, pro­mot­ing evap­o­tran­spi­ra­tion, they will make it worse,” Perotti said. In June, we will already apply kaolin against the excess heat and its impact.”

profiles-the-best-olive-oils-production-europe-legacy-meets-innovation-at-tuscanys-azienda-pometti-olive-oil-times

Lucca Perotti out pruning his olive groves. (Photo: Lucca Perotti)

The prob­lem with large por­tions of today’s agri­cul­ture is the wide­spread use of prob­a­bly out­dated tech­niques,” he added. Nature is not being heard any­more, and many agron­o­mists work behind desks way more than on the fields.”

According to the award-win­ning com­pany, pro­duc­ing high-qual­ity extra vir­gin olive oil in Italy is a gen­uine oppor­tu­nity.

It is an oppor­tu­nity because when high-qual­ity extra vir­gin olive oil is explained to the pub­lic and shared with those who visit the area, it suc­ceeds,” Perotti said.

We are not just talk­ing about the final prod­uct but the whole his­tory and facts that went into craft­ing that prod­uct,” he added. We are talk­ing about sus­tain­abil­ity, bio­di­ver­sity, how the har­vest hap­pens and how and when the olives are pressed.”

Perotti noted that Azienda Pometti is nav­i­gat­ing through the cur­rent com­plex era for olive oil, which is marked by increas­ing prices for com­mer­cial prod­ucts, infla­tion and esca­lat­ing pro­duc­tion costs.

Over the years, we have seen the demand grow,” Perotti said. That allows high-qual­ity pro­duc­ers to main­tain their prices at a level that pro­vides a return on invest­ments.”

In my opin­ion, those who suf­fer more today intend to focus on vol­umes, on quan­tity,” he added. In Italy, a quan­tity approach will always lose; we can­not com­pete with larger real­i­ties. On the other hand, we can def­i­nitely com­pete in qual­ity.”


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