Pruning Time at Bestagno
So many olive trees are still abandoned in our valley … it breaks my heart to see them so unloved.
With the harvest over and our oil being dispatched to customers all over the world we have been busy here in Liguria pruning our trees and generally giving the groves lots of TLC. With the weather set fair the new flowers will soon start to show and then the new harvest olives will form and so the cycle goes on.
We bought the majority of our trees ten years ago in 2007. Since then we have cleared the groves of their bramble jungle and ivy canopy and with careful annual pruning there has been transformation from total abandonment and decline to the beauties they now are producing their golden harvest.
But all around the vicinity of our groves trees are left abandoned and it breaks my heart to see them as they too could be whipped into shape and once again be producing their health-giving oil.
But the truth of the matter here in Liguria is that many folks have given up caring for their few family terraces of trees which in the past were enough to provide them with oil throughout the year. On their own they are not commercially viable and ‘why go to all that work to make your own oil these days’ people say when you can buy it from the supermarket?
One of the joys of owning olive trees I have discovered is tracing their growth and age from their roots once the land has been cleared.
In the middle of this ancient’s roots you can see an old trunk that we cut shortly after we cleared the groves leaving three new side shoots which have now grown into substantial trunks themselves. The actual base of the tree is more than a metre in diameter and with a close inspection you can trace how many times she has been cut in this way over the years to keep her in production. I think she is about 250 years old and had been abandoned for over 60 years before we cleared the groves and pruned her back into shape.
After they have all had a good prune and been individually checked over, we chop the old branches into small pieces and rotovate them into the land. Then a good natural fertilizer is given to each tree to give it a boost before the flowers start to form.
I love this time of the year as the groves start to fill with spring flowers and the odd fruit trees dotted around the terraces come into blossom.
The bees are already working in the aromatic gardens and it is thrilling to see new growth and vivid flowers in the early morning sun.
Nudo & Bestagno Farm Owner
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