NAME AN OLIVE TREE
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The olive tree is a symbol of strength, longevity, durability.
In Tuscany, “Olivo” – olive tree – used to be a traditional countryside name for a boy.
This tree usually thrives in fact, on the coastline, south of the country, north Africa, Spain, Greece, as its ideal climate is warm and temperate.
Tuscany is the northernmost climate region for olive trees.
That’s why in 1985, most century-old olive trees in our area were killed by a terrible frost, and had to be cut down to the ground.
It was a true tragedy. Adults men were crying. Century-old wealth was lost.
So now this usually longeve, generous tree is but a botanic teenager (divide the real age by 3, to find out “olive years”): skimpy and goofy, and not very productive…
However Tuscan lifestyle (and world-record life expectancy!) mainly relies on olive oil – a “liquid gold” filled with nutrients, minerals and antioxidants; and our cooking tradition becomes tasteless and meaningless without oil flowing plentifully – so EVERY OLIVE COUNTS!
This precious liquid is TWICE AS EXPENSIVE as our other precious liquid: wine.
Here are some numbers to help understand why.
- Each “teenage” tree produces about 20lb/10kg of olives
- 12-14%: yield ratio in weight olive/oil .
So that is a little over 2lb/1kg ol oil per tree…
COST OF PRODUCTION:
– 500€ Ploughing and mowing 4 times a year to allow the soil to absorb rain and not compete with other vegetation.
– 400€ approximately: pruning. Essential to be able to pluck the trees by hand. It’s usually done on alternate years.
– 9€/hour or 50% of the oil goes to the olive pickers. (a remainder of the share-cropping tradition)
– 100€ approximately is the cost of the oil mill, for our small load. (As do the pickers, the local oil mill will also accept payment in olive oil: 6% of our 2020 production stayed with the mill)
Consuming and sharing our own olive oil cost us about 18€/lt/qt.
Or – since we do our own pruning, ploughing, picking and transportation: a little over 1h work = 1 lb oil.
It is monetarily smart to take that time away from work only if you make less than 9€/hour.
Buying from producers in larger scale saves money and hard work.
We can find excellent local producers that will sell 100 lbs of oil for 600€. (They receive state subsidies, plus their expenses have a lower €/qt cost).
Then of course there is storing, bottling and labelling…
So here is why Tuscan olive oil is so dear.
Owning a small olive grove is not only a privilege: it’s a LUXURY and a RESPONSIBILITY to our region and the history of our land.
HELP US AFFORD THIS LUXURY and LIVE UP TO THIS RESPONSIBILITY!
For donations of 50€ and up, we will have your name carved on a metal tag, (up-cycled from an old spoon), so an olive tree can proudly bear your name, among its olives!
And, you can order a TUSCAN RESCUE BOX with 6 one-liter bottles of EXTRA VIRGIN OLIVE OIL, check our shop!
Get the neighborhood together!