In Slovenia, a Fruitful Harvest Despite Drought, Pests

The last few seasons in Slovenia have been characterized by high summer temperatures and a lack of precipitation. Salvation came with heavy September rains.

Miran and Martin Adamič
By Nedjeljko Jusup
Dec. 5, 2022 17:51 UTC
Miran and Martin Adamič

Slovenian olive grow­ers cel­e­brated World Olive Day on November 26.

Some had just fin­ished fil­ter­ing and stor­ing their olive oil in stain­less steel con­tain­ers in cel­lars with a fixed tem­per­a­ture of 14 ºC to 16 ºC.

We picked beau­ti­ful, flaw­less olives… The oil is top qual­ity, with bal­anced bit­ter­ness and spici­ness, and har­mo­nious, pro­nounced aro­mas and fruiti­ness.- Miran Adamič, owner, Ronkaldo

We can be sat­is­fied,” Miran Adamič, the 64-year-old owner of Ronkaldo, an organic olive farm in Izola, Slovenia, told Olive Oil Times.

On his 2.9‑hectare olive grove in Baredi, Adamič, his wife, Renata, and son, Martin, grow 800 olive trees.

See Also:Producer Profiles

The trees mainly com­prise the autochtho­nous Istrian bjel­ica vari­ety. Still, the fam­ily also grows Maurino, Leccino, Pendolino, Itrana, Buga, Leccio del Corno, and the table olive vari­eties of Storta, Mata and Ascolan.

The last few sea­sons in Mirano’s olive groves, and oth­ers in Slovenia, have been char­ac­ter­ized by high sum­mer tem­per­a­tures and a lack of pre­cip­i­ta­tion.

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Miran and Martin Adamič

Last year, the crop was the weak­est in terms of quan­tity since we started grow­ing olives,” Adamič said. This year, I can say that it is aver­age, but the oil qual­ity exceeds expec­ta­tions.”

The oil is top qual­ity, with bal­anced bit­ter­ness and spici­ness, and har­mo­nious, pro­nounced aro­mas and fruiti­ness, as con­firmed by the chem­i­cal and sen­sory ana­lyzes we received,” he added.

In July and August, drought and extremely high tem­per­a­tures sug­gested a chal­leng­ing har­vest lay ahead. The olives resem­bled dried grapes.

However, sal­va­tion came dur­ing September when heavy rain helped the olive trees recover.

We picked beau­ti­ful, flaw­less olives,” Adamič said. True, they con­tained a rel­a­tively large amount of water, and because of this, the per­cent­age of oil in the fruit was lower – between 7.8 and 14 per­cent –- depend­ing on the vari­ety and the micro-loca­tion where indi­vid­ual trees grew.”

While the high tem­per­a­tures and drought cre­ated some unease before the autumn rain arrived, it also meant there was very lit­tle dam­age done by the olive fruit fly, one of the most sig­nif­i­cant pests of the crop.

Based on the mon­i­tor­ing car­ried out by the olive grow­ers in their groves and the Institute for Olive Growing of the Scientific and Research Center (ZRS) Koper, there was prac­ti­cally no need to treat against the olive fly because there was lit­tle evi­dence of dam­age cost by the pest.

Dry and slightly hot weather dur­ing the har­vest meant Adamič could com­plete it with­out wor­ry­ing too much about the fly.

Overall, pro­duc­ers feel that every­thing with the har­vest has gone rea­son­ably well this year, except for increased pro­duc­tion costs.

All energy prod­ucts, bot­tles, card­board pack­ag­ing, pro­cess­ing costs and costs of aux­il­iary labor that we need for olive har­vest­ing have gone up in price,” Adamič said. The price has reached almost €1 per har­vested kilo­gram.”

He adds that the costs of cer­ti­fi­ca­tion in Slovenia are quite high but praised the munic­i­pal­ity of Izola, which sub­si­dized part of these costs for the first time this year.

Due to higher input costs dic­tated by mar­ket con­di­tions, this year we were forced to cor­rect the prices of our extra vir­gin olive oils, and now we are wait­ing for the last, also impor­tant stage in the pro­duc­tion process: to sell suc­cess­fully,” Adamič said.

However, he has not had any issues with sales. We sell most of our extra vir­gin olive oil to reg­u­lar, long-term cus­tomers, to tourists who come to our farm and select cater­ing estab­lish­ments and bou­tiques in Slovenia and abroad,” Adamič said.

He founded Ronkaldo in 1984 after leas­ing a half-hectare of aban­doned agri­cul­tural land near the coastal town of Izola from the local munic­i­pal agri­cul­tural fund.

In the begin­ning, it was nec­es­sary first to clear the com­pletely aban­doned and neglected land, and then we planted some crops and fruit trees,” Adamič said.

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Young trees on neglected land

They planted the first olive trees in 1987. Then, in the mid-1990s, they bought another 0.5 hectares of land and planted the first sig­nif­i­cant olive grove with 350 trees on the advice of the agri­cul­tural advi­sory ser­vice.

The Adamič farm is located 140 meters above sea level on the south­ern slope of a hill shaped like an amphithe­ater, which cre­ates an ideal envi­ron­ment for grow­ing olives.

Over the years, we acquired addi­tional areas, but they were all neglected and over­grown and needed to be cleaned and pre­pared for plant­ing olives,” Adamič said.

They cur­rently cul­ti­vate 3.2 hectares of land, of which 800 olive trees are planted on 2.9 hectares. However, most of the land is leased from the state fund for agri­cul­tural land and forests, and the Adamič fam­ily owns only a small part.

Initially, they pro­duced only a mixed vari­ety of extra vir­gin olive oil (cuvee). We are now increas­ingly pro­duc­ing sin­gle-vari­ety oils from the vari­etal assort­ment of our plan­ta­tions,” Adamič said.

The Adamič fam­ily has earned awards at local qual­ity com­pe­ti­tions for their table olives and olive oil.


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