`Olives Reach New Heights in Valtellina - Olive Oil Times

Olives Reach New Heights in Valtellina

Jan. 19, 2015
Alfonso De Lucia

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Global warm­ing of the atmos­phere is caused by the green­house gases that cap­ture the sun’s heat, pre­vent­ing it from scat­ter­ing in the space sur­round­ing our planet. The result of that the aver­age tem­per­a­ture is ris­ing in most parts of the world.

One of the con­se­quences of the ris­ing tem­per­a­tures is that it is now pos­si­ble to cul­ti­vate olive trees, a plant that prefers a warm and dry cli­mate, in areas where it was pre­vi­ously unthink­able, such as Valtellina, an alpine area in Northern Lombardia (Italy).

SEE ALSO: Farming On the Edge of an Olive’s Comfort Zone

Over the past 10 years, accord­ing to Coldiretti (the Italian Confederation of Farmers), the cul­ti­va­tion of olive trees in Valtellina increased from 0 to 10,000 plants, on an area of 30,000 square meters of land.

Carlo Baruffi, a 71 year-old farmer, said: When I started about 10 years ago, peo­ple called me crazy, now they ask me for assis­tance.”

Baruffi owns an olive grove with 360 plants at 564 meters above sea-level just above the 46th par­al­lel. For now, Mr. Baruffi gives the oil he pro­duces to his friends. But in the future, olive oil could become a typ­i­cal prod­uct in Valtellina.

Agriculture has always been to inno­vate by try­ing to get the best out of eco­nomic and cli­mate changes,” said Ettore Prandini, the pres­i­dent of Coldiretti-Lombardia.

Valtellina is a valley in the Lombardy region of northern Italy, bordering Switzerland.

Ivano Fojanini, an expert work­ing for the Technical Foundation of Valtellina said there was work to be done to deter­mine the best cul­ti­vars for the unique alpine envi­ron­ment. We are try­ing to iden­tify which are the most suited vari­eties to our area by exper­i­ment­ing with plants from Istria and Marche regions. Global warm­ing, but also the spe­cific micro­cli­mate in our area, facil­i­tates us in cul­ti­va­tion, with a pro­duc­tion of high qual­ity reg­u­lar yields.”

According to Coldiretti, 2014 in Italy ranked as the warmest year since mea­sure­ments began in 1880, with a tem­per­a­ture of 1.45 degrees higher than aver­age.

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