Harvest 2014: Italy is hit by the worst olive harvest since 1956
Pepe stands looking forlornly at the empty olive press. “It’s usually buzzing in here at this time of year, the press is working round the clock. Not this year. No-one has any olives. It’s the worst harvest I have ever seen. They say it’s as bad as 1956”.
With nature, some years you win and some you lose. This year, the combination of a mild winter and a warm, wet summer created the ideal breeding conditions for the dreaded ‘mosca’ or olive fly. No-one realised how bad it was until the olives started to shrivel up and fall off the trees as early as the start of October. And things have only become worse since then.
“Most groves have lost at least half their crop and some groves don’t have a single olive on a single tree,” Giuseppe told us. And news of the disaster is spreading fast. “Last week we had a rush of people coming to buy last year’s oil. We had to limit them to 10litres a family – it was like wartime rationing. I have actually seen grown men cry.”
There is now no doubt that next year will see a drought of premium Italian olive oil, and the price of what is available will rocket. Nudo producers have all been affected but we have done our utmost to protect Nudo customers and adoptive parents. The fact that we work with our groves over the long-term and pre-order the oil means that we have first right to all the oil that they have produced. In the few groves where crops have failed disastrously, we have managed to secure high quality alternatives.
We are sorry to be the bearers of bad tidings but as they say there’s no controlling nature. It is no exaggeration to say that over the coming year, Nudo adoptive parents will be among the few people around the world – even including Italy – able to enjoy Italian extra virgin olive oil.
And be warned, there will be less trees available for adoption this winter.