2014 Extra virgin olive oil: “you need to make to do with what you have”

Old and high tech press in a mill close to Orvieto

2014 will be probably recorded as one of the most difficult years in extra virgin olive oil production in Umbria and Central Italy.
The humidity and the very unusual “tropical” weather, very rainy and hot, that we had during the last Summer and at the beginning of Autumn, significantly affected these precious fruits.

Thanks to its climate, windy and chilly especially in October, just before the harvest,  the gentle rolling hills, Umbria has the perfect terroir for the production of top level organic EVOOs, famous not only for its aromas and fragrance, but especially for the high quantity of antioxidants that in our extra virgin reaches the top of this very important range.


Our partner Roberta in her oil mill in Bevagna

We know that Mother Nature is not always benevolent towards her children and those who are involved in agriculture knows it very well.
Local evoo producers and consumers are aware of the fact that this year they have to “accontentarsi“, that more or less it means: you need to make to do with what you have. 
Oil mills would not open 24h/7 as it usually happens, and people know that the extra virgin will cost more this year, given to the insufficient quantity.

I’ve recently read several articles and posts on foreigner blogs that describe the situation in shocking terms.
Of course, we also are quite sad and worried (especially the producers), but I think that we, Umbrians, have a different approach on this problem simply because we are used to bad times.

Agriculture has an ancient tradition in Umbria

Until the 50s Umbria was a very poor region and many old people remind the hard times during and just after WWII, when even food was not enough. Younger people recall the extreme cold in 1956 and 1982, where thousand Umbrian olive trees died because of the frost and ice. These two years 1956 and 1982, carved in stone here in our shared memories, were really scary.
When an olive tree dies, it needs to be re-implanted and to grow a new tree that can produce a good quantity of olives, we need to wait for about 10-12 years, but we did it. We cried, we suffered,  but we re-implanted our olive groves and, in certain areas of the region, almost completely.

2014, that affected not the trees but the quantity/quality of olives, has simply reminded us again how little we are, how much we depend on Nature.
In these weeks, visiting my partners for my guided tours, all family-run companies at their third or forth generation in olive growing, I felt the very same mood: it’s just a bad year, it’s hard but it can happen. Agriculture is not a perfect science, you can do the best you can, but at the end everything depends on Nature.

Probably during the next tourist season when you are in our region, maybe the bruschetta we’ll offer you it would be less generous, but Umbrian extra virgin olive oil producers and their passion and love for their product are always here, ready to start again. 

***UPDATE 11th November 2014***
Our providers made the miracle, pressing only the best olives! We have secured a small quantity for our guided tours and tasting and our travelers! Our extravirgin olive oil tours are running in season 2014-15!
Join us 🙂 

Read my related post:

Extra Virgin Resurrection

The Food that made us: Chapter 1 olive oil 

Frantoi Aperti 2011