Welcome Everyone.

Welcome to News From Italy, my blog about our Italian Adventure. Although this blog has now ceased publication I will be continuing to blog and I am sincerely hoping that my many followers here will move with me to Travel Tales blog to follow my next adventures wherever they may take me. The links to my other blogs are:-

I look forward to keeping in touch with you via them, thanks once again for all the support you have given 'News From Italy' over the years.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Olive Harvest–Che Disastro! – What a Disaster!


We started picking last Wednesday afternoon and very pleasant it was in the warm sunshine. Thankful for the return of the milder sunnier weather after the dreadful weather Italy suffered last week when lots of places in Northern Italy suffered with flooding and mud slides due to the excessive rain.

Our garden has been so bountiful with everything else this year, that it is a major disappointment to have such a poor crop of olives. A combination of cold weather in the spring, including snow in March when the blossom was forming and more recently the excessive rains and wind which has meant a large percentage of the crop has ended up on the ground ruined. Fortunately not everyone locally has suffered as badly as we have, although most quantities are down somewhat it just seems to be a case of how sheltered ones olive grove is. Also if we had managed to harvest before last weekends storms we may have produced enough to at least have our own pressing.

Our crop is a complete disaster dropping from last years 1,074 kilos to a pathetic 45 kilos this year. It was rather a shock that two such different figures are possible from the same number of trees.  No where near enough for us to be able to take them to the mill for our own pressing.  Even if someone is willing to add our olives to theirs we are unlikely to get more than a couple of litres of oil for ourselves this year. Good news just before publishing this post we heard that our olives are going to the mill with those of one of our neighbours, so at least they are not going to waste.

Fortunately with our bumper crop last year and knowing it could not possibly be so good this year, alternate years are usually high/low yield, we still have enough to see us through until next season. Sadly though it does mean no fresh olive oil for family and friends in the UK this year.

Our olive picking ended up being combined with pruning as we decided we might us well concentrate on that as we went round the olive grove harvesting such feeble quantities. As the weather was a warm 21C, with autumnal bright blue skies we were happy to spend Thursday and Friday working with our friends picking and pruning and enjoying lunches in the garden.

I did take a few pictures to share with you but this year there will be no tree to bottle process to post about. I know I have new readers since I wrote about this process last year who were looking forward to me showing you what happens.

All I can do I am afraid is direct you to last years posts so that you can see what should have happened. We are both feeling rather disappointed as although we have harvested olives every year since 2005 and have experienced very good, average and bad harvests in the past we have never had such a disastrous one!

Oh well better luck next year.      

Olive Harvest Part One 2009  and  Olive Harvest Part Two 2009  when we achieved great results with 1,074 kilos of Olives producing 170 litres of oil, which was an exceptionally good percentage yield of 15.82%.

In this photo you can actually see how sparse the olives were.

A pathetic cluster on this little branch, because they have remained undeveloped.

Here is a selection of some of the grotty looking olives harvested, shrivelled and attacked, or small and hard!

If only they had all looked like this one!

The full album of photos for this year’s harvest can be viewed on Flickr by visiting the collection Olives and Olive Oil


  1. Oh Linda that is such a shame, after all your other great successes too !! But at least they are going with your neighbours Olives :-)

    So wintery here now, but unfortunately the WET type .. feels soooooo damp.

    Take care Anne

  2. I'm so sorry for you, I imagine how good is one's own oil.

  3. I'm so sorry for you. I really know how good is to have your own oil. My best friend and her husband have also olive trees(Kalamata) and every year they prepare their own olive oil and they send me some. And I can tell the diference between their olive oil and the one I buy from the supermarket.
    Best wishes

  4. che peccata! How lovely it must be when you can enjoy your own olive oil crop. Something to treasure....

  5. Hi Lindy!
    How lucky to be able to harvest your own olives! (even if this year has been a bad one, sorry for that)
    We have a small olive tree in our garden and dad one year very proudly got a small jar of olives, LOL! We usually buy extra virgin olive oil from a friend who has an olive grove in the Abbruzzo region.
    The rain has just stopped here and the sky is a weird mixture of clouds and blue..let's hope for some sunshine for tomorrow, we're so fed up with rain and as you said some villages in the nearby have been flooded and people have lost everything.
    Ciao, a presto!
    Michela xxx

  6. What a great difference from last year to this year, and what a shame Linda. I hope that next year is better.

  7. I saw and lived through all this many years ago, thank you for reminding me of the funny part!

  8. Oh, I'm so sorry to read about your bad harvest this year. :-( I'm glad the olives you did get harvested will be used, and that you have enough to get through this year. Fingers crossed that next spring won't be so lousy!!

  9. Well goodness Linda that is just bad news. We are all at the mercy of the weather. I will venture into the former posts. ♥O

  10. Not at all what one expects in sunny Italy, is it? We must remember this when we pick up our next bottle at the local vendor. Sorry about your situation, though. Very disappointing!

  11. Che Peccata!! One thing we miss in the urban US is the reminder of how weather is affecting the agriculture. I have my own little orto but it isn't the same as an agricultural based economy. When I hear from my Italian cousins, there is always mention of the rain or lack of it, the heat, the wind and how it is affecting the olive blossoms, the seedlings, the fruit. In 2007 on a visit to Sicily we helped cousins pick their olives and cart them to the village olive press located in a garage-type structure near the center of town...not so shiny and new as the one you showed in your 2009 photos. It was a real communal activity and we loved it. But then for us it was more about entertainment...not subsistence. Makes a difference if you are depending on it!

  12. This year was a bad one for our apple and pear harvest, too! we also had too dry weather in spring and also it was much too cold for insects to fly. Hardly any walnuts, either. We can only hope for next year. Nothing we can do about it, so let`s be humble.

  13. Really sorry to hear about your "disastrous" olive harvest this year. It must have been very disappointing for you. Here's to a bumper crop next year!!

  14. How disappointing! But you still have your beautiful trees!!! And I know you have fruit trees as well. I went to an olive oil processing plant near here (Bonamini) and it was just so interesting. So many different kinds of oil, different uses, etc. And all delicious!!!!

  15. So sorry to hear of your disappointing harvest. Hopefully the coming months will bring weather that is more inline with what we (and our plants and crops) expect! Take care

  16. Glad the ones you have picked are not being wasted. Good that they are going with your neighbours olives. Diane

  17. Bonjour Linda. I'm really sorry to hear about that disappointment. That must be quite sad - at least that's how I'd feel. I'm glad to hear the ones you did manage to harvest aren't going to waste...it must be fantastic to have your "own" olive oil.

    Thanks for your really really lovely comment on my blog. There's absolutely nothing to forgive - were're all busy and I don't manage to do half the things I want/need to do - like blog-visiting... I have a part-time job, but worked 9.5 hours flat out today, so I don't even know if I'll have a post tomorrow...

    Anyway, as for the fish knifes, LUCKY YOU ;-) I thought I was lucky to find three pretty ones...next you'll tell me you have the matching forkes and spoons :-D

    Have a good week, I hope you're not too upset about the olives... Lots of Love from London xo

  18. What a shame, and who would have thought the difference from one year to the next would be so dramatic!

  19. It must be very disappointing after last year's good crop. Maybe the pruning, that you have now done, will help to give you a good crop next year.

  20. I know it must be disappointing to take care of something and to have it come up short. You do have the trees and perhaps a better year ahead. We will all hope so. I think of the farmers who were hit with hard rains, and some with droughts and wonder how they work so hard and yet can never be sure until the crop is harvested. When we sit down to food at our table we should ask for blessings to be bestowed on the farmers.

  21. Oh I read about your recent weather from your comment! Wow... water is a force of nature isn't it!

    I also perused your beautiful photos on flickr. Thanks so much for sharing these... I'm going to email the link to my father who is from Italy...He will really enjoy them!
    blessings to you always ~ take care!!!

  22. Oh, dear! So sorry for the disappointing weather AND disappointing olive crop! However, at least something will come out of it. Does this mean that next year will be a 'good' year for your trees? (Have to admit - I'm not at all up on olive care .. although I LOVE to eat them, and use their oils. But not at all familar with the good crop/bad crop rotation.) I still enjoyed your photos so very very much!

  23. I can imagine how disappointing this harvest has been when you want so much for it to be good. But the coming years will make up for it and this will be a distant memory. As always, I really enjoy hearing all about your life there, good and bad! – g

  24. 21°C??? I haven't seen those sort of numbers since...September. A pity about the poor crop but that means next year should be a productive one! I am glad that at least your olive trees weren't affected by the moscerino/mosco dell'olivo. At a place that we were visting in Liguria, the owners said that it is particularly problematic for those who live at lower (warmer) altitudes.

  25. Goodmorning!
    I'm sorry to read that your harvest was not good this year. You have a very interesting life, so different than mine, so I love reading about it, thanks for sharing! Enjoy your wednesday,

  26. THis is so sad..It is funny how crops go..We lost all our tomatoes due to a blight, this year..Never has this happened. You just never know what can ruin a crop..
    We had very bad storm here, lost the internet/phone service..I had trouble getting here right now. Will check out your pictures as soon as I can get in..will try after I leave here.
    What a great site it is you introduced me to..just beautiful photos..You have such wonderful ones..
    Have a good day/week..Rosebud/Carolyn

  27. How disappointing, but thanks for sharing the pictures anyway.

  28. I just found your blog and love it!
    Sorry to hear about your harvest.I wish you all the best.
    And thanks for sharing.

  29. That is a disaster, I'm sorry you've had such a disappointment. I know how important the oil is. We brought back most of our oil to the UK last year (our neighbour picks and presses for us) and I've been merrily giving it away thinking we'd soon have more. Sounds like we won't be getting much this year so I'd better keep what we have left.

  30. Ciao! So sorry to hear it was a disaster. I hope you will have better luck next year.

  31. Oh goodness so many lovely comments, thankyou all so much for the moral support and friendship you give me here.
    I am trying a new way of replying to comments. Do you prefer personal ones or do you subscribe to follow up comments on blogs?
    Where possible(depends if you have allowed this system)I will try to answer comments personally. If not I will answer here.
    Thankyou friends.

  32. The replies below are to those of you whose comments are set as no direct reply.

    Marybeth - Having a bad harvest does make you realise how dependent on Nature we are. Having our own olive oil is certainly something to treasure.

    Cathy - It was such a huge difference from last year. we were expecting less but not so few!

    Laura - It does make you realise how much we depend on nature for successful harvests! We have plenty to see us through but sadly none for family and friends in the UK this year :(

    Patricia - It is a shiny olive mill isn't it, the one we used at our previous house still had much older equipment, it was interesting to see last year how modern methods are arriving. I am thankful that we are not dependent on our harvests for survival as many still are in rural Italy. We were unlucky this year in that our olive grove is exposed to the winds that did the damage this year, it is not a generally bad harvest, just for those of us with orchards in the wrong place :)

    Angela - We are very thankful and humble. Our walnuts did not do too badly either,certainly more than enough for us again this year.

    Thisisme - It was disappointing, but that is the cycle of nature, nothing we can control.

    Laura (2) - The weather is something none of us can control and it does seem to be getting more excessive in every aspect in recent years!

    Diane - We are pleased that they have not been wasted, that would have been dreadful after the effort picking them!

    Cheshire wife - The pruning is important, but we do that every year anyway. It seems that according to our neighbours we were just unlucky to be in the path of severe weather, along with some other groves in the area.

    Maria - Nature is a strong force certainly! I hope you Dad enjoyed the link to the photos.

    Carols notebook - It was disappointing but I still wanted to share the photos with you all.

    Jenny - I am sure your harvest will be fine, we were just unlucky that our olive grove was exposed to some of the excesses of the weather this year. It seems to have hit a band of groves through our locality :(

    The SweetLife - Alessandra - Never mind that's nature for you, as you say better luck next year.

    Wow, there were more of you with no reply set up than I expected :)

  33. that is a HUGE drop. I hope that next year's crop is more plentiful- but hopefully you'll squeeze enough bottles out of 45 kilos?

  34. Natalie - It sure is and sadly there will be very little oil from that quantity. I believe the percentage is around 14% this year.

  35. I am so sorry for your disappointment. I found this very interesting and I will go back and look at last year's pictures. I hate to say it, but as much as I love olives...I didn't really know they grew on trees. I don't think I've ever really thought about it at all. You have taught me something new!

  36. Thanks for sharing your news here and to us direct. There is always next year eh?! We had seasonal disappointments on our American farm too when weird frosts and other things nailed us.

  37. Diana and Guido - I am enjoying getting to know other bloggers living both here in Italy and further afield. Yes there is always next year and what ever surprises nature holds for us.

  38. Enjoying my stroll through your blog.

    thanks for your comment on my waterfall pictures.
    I will come back to see more later.


    barbara jean


Thank you so much for visiting my blog and taking the time to leave a comment. I really appreciate it and enjoy reading them all. I now only respond to comments via email, so please make sure your comment is linked to your account, if you would like a response. Otherwise I will not be able to respond!