The Olive Harvest


OC2015_collageIn this most difficult harvest year, the awards have commenced. It seems that the producers have self-selected and self-nominated with great restraint. Those who were confident of their olive oils submitted them to the major competitions. At Trieste, the number of submissions was down and quality was awarded.

Let’s take a look at the notable awards from Olio Capitale, March 7-10, 2015 in Trieste. (Awards List Here).

We’re highlighting the award winners (all 2014 harvest) available through Olio2go.com.

The highest award – Overall winner in the Intensely Fruity Category:

Categoria Fruttato Intenso

Azienda Agraria De Carlo: Olio Tenuta Torre di Mossa 2014
Puglia

Mention of Honor Giuria Ristoratori

Frantoi Cutrera Primo DOP Monti Iblei 2014, Sicilia

Finalists – Fruttato Intenso

Società Agricola Fonte di Foiano S.S. Grand Cru 2014 Toscana– coming soon!
Azienda Agricola De Carlo Torre di Mossa 2014 Puglia – in stock!

Frantoi Cutrera Primo 2014 – D.O.P. Monti Iblei – Sicilia – in stock!

Semi Finalist – Fruttato Intenso

Tenute Librandi Monocultivar Nocellara del Belice Biologico – Vaccarizzo Albanese CS – 2014 coming soon!

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For three months now there have been stunning reports of the difficult, challenging, and horrible olive harvest in Italy. Decades have passed since such a crisis last occurred, and that, the Tuscan freeze of 1985, did not reach the broad geographical proportions of this one.

During the month of October, we learned of the losses on a daily basis. Each phone call and email told a tale of crop failures and weather issues. Few areas were immune. In general, windstorms, rain, a cool summer, and a hailstorm were the weather issues. A bug and a fungus took hold as well.

Videos of the 18 September 2014 hailstorm in Tuscany can be seen here and here.

As reported to us, the harvests in Sicily were early and small. Problems were noted from The Veneto to Puglia. Producers in Tuscany, Umbria, Marche, and Abruzzo piled on tales of woe.

Outstanding producers chose to bottle no oil in the fall of 2014: Tenuta di Capezzana, Poggio Etrusco, Avignonesi, Fattoria di Monti, Decimi, and others.  We were informed of difficulties among many others who have valiantly produced much smaller quantities than normal. And, need we mention price increases?

There is a human toll that goes far beyond the kitchen table. Families, including farm workers, and bottlers, have experienced reduced wages from the poor harvest. Quality olive oil will likely cost more than ever.

Remembering that there are always variations in characteristics for year to year, the 2014s we have tasted provide a remarkable testament to the skills of the producers. Aromatic, fresh, grassy, bitter, and spicy can all be found in our lucky bottles.

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We continue to remain optimistic as we have carefully sourced 30 selections so far this season. Our full line of new olive oils (many shown in photo) can be purchased here.

Frantoi Cutrera, Frescolio and Primo DOP

La Poderina Toscana Organic, Oro and Argento

Gianfranco Becchina’s Olio Verde Novello

Frescobaldi First Pressing

Titone Novello

Santisi Novello

Azienda del Carmine, Ascolana and Olio del Carmine

CantinArte OroPuro

di Giovanna (Gerbino Biologica)

Marfuga L’Affiorante 

Villa Zottopera Bio and Rosso

Fratelli Colletti

Fattoria Ramerino Primus and Cultivar Frantoio

Principe di Mascio, Novello and DOP

Quattrociocchi Olivastro

In the coming months we look forward to arrivals of many more selections from Italy, including favorites such as:

Olio Librandi

Centonze

Gargiulo Sorrentolio Venus

La Pennita, Alina

Castello del Trebbio

Badia a Coltibuono

Our challenge is to continue to bring in the best Italian extra virgin olive oil in quantities to carry us through to the 2015 harvest.

 

For more information on the topic of the 2014 olive harvest, we recommend the following clicks:

New York Times: Amid bugs, hail, floods…

Los Angeles Times: Europe Suffers Olive Oil Disaster

NPR: Olive Oil Producers in Crisis

As the world knows, the Eastern Seaboard of the U.S. was hit by a destructive storm named Sandy during the last days of October. It was a significant concern for us, first for our own office, store, and warehouse, and also for our colleagues who have warehouses in the path of destruction in New Jersey.

The storm caused tidal waves of concern for importers.  Fantastic holiday goodies, such as panettone, were just reaching our shores.

At Olio2go, we had an import of Novello crossing the ocean, destined for the then-closed Port of New York and New Jersey. While the situation is abating, we are currently awaiting the customs clearance of our weather-delayed new olive oils so that we can deliver this Novello extra virgin olive oil to your doorsteps and holiday tables.

And, this week, as many businesses were getting back to normal, we were informed of a very destructive storm in Europe.  A very high Aqua Alta imposed itself on Venice, while the stors lashed through Tuscany leaving four dead in its wake. Our producers in Tuscany have found it difficult to harvest and mill this week. And quick decisions have been made regarding the timing of the next import. This article from the UK’s Daily Mail Online includes several photos of the destruction, all the way to Rome!

We continue on our mission to bring you the best in Italian olive oil, but wanted to share with you how weather events, both here and there, impact both the production and importing of these fantastic artisanal extra virgin olive oils.

Photo Source: Gazzetta del Sud Online. Accompanying story can be read here.

Olive Harvesting in Sicily

Olive Harvesting in Sicily


The olive harvest is underway and visits were made to Planeta, Ravida and Gianfranco Becchina’s estate this week. The Becchina estate in Castelvetrano is the home of Olio Verde and Olio Verde al Limone. The Planeta estate is in Menfi, as is the Ravida estate.

Take a look at this photo of the workers picking the olives at Planeta’s grove, a tradition that dates back centuries.

Are you dreaming of Tuscany? We can help with our step by step guide:

1. Order a Tuscan extra virgin olive oil from Olio2go. This week, we’re recommending Pace da Poggio Etrusco from the estate of Pamela Sheldon Johns. We found this post on making olive oil (Pace da Poggio Etrusco!) on one of our favorite blogs, Elizabeth Minchillini in Rome. Take a look at this fabulous verdant green oil. This is the oil in the stainless steel tin available at Olio2go. (Recently when I didn’t have any Sicilian oil at home, I used Pace da Poggio Etrusco for the Lemon, Olive Oil and Almond Biscotti with great results!

2. For added inspiration, add a cookbook, such as Pamela’s newest tome: Cucina Povera.

3. Add 50 Great Pasta Sauces and 50 Great Appetizers to your cart. Check out. (If you buy all four items, we’ll mark your order for free shipping. Use our web form to send a note and we will adjust the pricing before shipping your order. Quantites are limited. Orders must be placed by April 25th at midnight).  

4. Recieve your order, cook a meal, and fall in love.

5. Plan a visit to Pamela’s estate in Tuscany and take one of her tours or workshops!

Pamela Sheldon Johns is a noted cookbook author and we are thrilled to carry the oil from her Tuscan estate, Pace da Poggio Etrusco.

Monday was a day filled with excitement as the first 2011 harvest olive oils reached our warehouse. First to arrive? Olio Verde Novello, Capezzana Olio Nuovo, and Frescobaldi Laudemio First Pressing.

We exhaustedly share your excitement as hundreds of bottles are already on their way to our favorite customers.

Stay tuned for more reports on the new arrivals!

P.S. We are taking pre-orders for Las Poderina Toscana (remember the Washington Post article?), Cutrera’s Primo from Sicily, and San Macario from Lucca.

The tractor trailer arrived today with Olio2go‘s inbound shipment of Olio Verde Novello and Capezzana Olio Nuovo. It was a bit exciting as there was not a perfect fit between the loading dock and the truck. That’s about all I want to say on that topic. Not a single bottle broke, but I had thoughts of a calamity. Now, they are flying out the door.

They come packed with flavor. I loved Lauren’s comment that the flavor seemed even better the second time she opened the bottle, a couple of days after the first. Something about the flavors seemed to develop for her.

Notably, Tenuta di Capezzana has a new label, which we’ll have to capture soon for the web site.

Celebrate the holidays with olive oil!

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