Prison Inmates Near Florence Learn from Award-Winning Producer

The producer of the award-winning Laudemio brand teaches the art of making great olive oil to inmates serving sentences in the penal institution of Sollicciano, in the suburbs of Florence.

By Ylenia Granitto
Oct. 26, 2016 13:28 UTC

The pro­ducer of the award-win­ning Laudemio brand teaches the art of mak­ing great olive oil to inmates serv­ing sen­tences in the penal insti­tu­tion of Sollicciano, in the sub­urbs of Florence.

The idea started with the devel­op­ment of a wine­mak­ing pro­gram on the island of Gorgona, the model prison where inmates live in open air and are employed in agri­cul­tural projects includ­ing the pro­duc­tion of olive oil. The good results led to extend the plan Frescobaldi per il sociale (Frescobaldi for social) to other penal insti­tu­tions.

The activ­ity at Sollicciano is part of our desire to pro­vide a pro­fes­sional oppor­tu­nity for detainees,” Lamberto Frescobaldi, the pio­neer of the project, told Olive Oil Times. There was an olive grove in the gar­den of the prison, with plants that had been recently planted and left unman­aged,” he explained.

We know a good extra vir­gin olive oil is the result of a sound man­age­ment of the trees which involves ade­quate agri­cul­tural prac­tices and treat­ments. Our agron­o­mists sup­ported the inmates and last year they pro­duced a very good prod­uct.”

After an ini­tial good har­vest that boosted the work, this year has been more com­pli­cated due to the need for sev­eral treat­ments. Nevertheless, the pro­duc­tion has been extended to a new olive grove located on a hill out­side the prison, where inmates have the oppor­tu­nity to go for dur­ing the har­vest period.

They are employed and rightly paid,” Frescobaldi pointed out. This makes them return to work again, while they become inde­pen­dent and able to help their fam­i­lies.” Work and per­sonal com­mit­ment dig­nify the detainees, who are also grat­i­fied by the cre­ation of a high-qual­ity prod­uct. If the extra vir­gin olive oil is good, those who have pur­chased it once, will buy it again, and not only for char­ity. We want the detainees to be proud of their work and the con­sumer to be impressed with the intrin­sic qual­ity.”

Garden of reunion at the Sollicciano prison

Consisting of Moraiolo, Leccino, Frantoio and Pendolino which are pressed at Castello di Nipozzano estate, the blend takes its name from the area inside the prison called Giardino degli incon­tri, or Garden of reunion.

Designed by the archi­tect Giovanni Michelucci, it is a dig­ni­fied place where detainees meet their fam­i­lies. When the time came to pick a name, I thought about this place because good extra vir­gin olive oil brings peo­ple together,” said Frescobaldi. I hope that our EVOO will be used by peo­ple to spend good time together, shar­ing its qual­ity and con­fi­dently look­ing into the future.”


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