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La passione del Colle
Report November 2023
The summer of 2023 was characterised by long periods of very high temperature and occasional localised rain. Temperatures above 35 degrees Celsius were not uncommon. Life without a pool would have been less enjoyable.
Across the region, the harvest was disappointing. We were lucky that it rained occasionally at our place. Some neighbours, small oil producers, complain bitterly about a disappointing harvest. These are entrepreneurs who have to live off oil or supplement their small pensions. With our 52 trees, we had around 60 litres of oil, which is more than enough for our own use and sales to friends. Unfortunately, there is such a scarcity that the price is high. In eastern Umbria, €16 to €18 per litre is already being charged for organic oil. We do not want to go beyond €70/can of 5 litres for friends. At the pressing plant (frantoio d'Oro) in Gualdo Cattaneo, my oil was selected to make bruschette for the people that were waiting. bruschettes te maken. I really got a lot of compliments from everyone on the taste, smell and colour of the oil.
Report November 2018
The trees have recovered nicely from the bad year 2014. Although the harvest was not abundant, with 17% (17 kg of olive oil from 100 kg of olives) the yield was reasonably good. With 53 litres of oil, it was not bad overall. We keep 13 litres for ourselves and sell the rest. We also lost the oil immediately. If I used to have to "leuren" with the oil, nowadays we have to disappoint people.
Meanwhile I have also pruned all the trees. I am not afraid to climb into the trees. The pruning waste has also been collected. All branches had to be checked to get the pieces of wood that could be used for the fireplace. I had 5 wheelbarrows full of "firewood". About 10 cubic meters of cutting waste had to be burned. Of course it should not rain, not be too dry, but also not blow too hard. All together it took me over a week to prune and burn,
In some towns there is a collection service for pruning waste. This is then processed into briquettes. then it is used to heat government buildings, such as schools, for example. Unfortunately, our council does not do this, so I had to burn it myself.
Report November 2014
Unfortunately, this year's harvest failed. Not only with us but in large parts of the country. By combining all kinds of weather types at the wrong times, the olive fly was able to develop en masse. The flies have deposited 4 to 8 larvae in the young olives. In other years there were only one or two and not even in all olives. Moreover, the trees became infected with a kind of fungus. At the end of September it became clear that the olives would shrivel up and eventually fall from the trees. We literally didn't have one olive hanging from the trees at the beginning of the picking season. Our neighbours have about 2500 trees and they had the same problem. However, they live from olive oil and now have a bad year, financially speaking. The question is even whether the trees can recover sufficiently for the olive year 2015.
Some farmers spray their olive trees against diseases and had a reasonable harvest. They sell the oil for at least €15/litre! This year the government has required us to spray our trees to prevent the disease from "hanging around" in the orchards. Fortunately there are a few biological pesticides that work effectively.
Report November 2013
This year, because of the weather forecast, we picked the olives early. In terms of quantity it was the largest harvest ever (426 kg; =53 litres). Finally I start to get my costs out, but then I don't have to include the labour for the harvest (more than 50 hours picking and a half day at the mill).
Last year we were not very satisfied with the filtration of the oil. Although the taste was fine, we felt that too much sediment was left on the bottom of the cans. So we secretly said goodbye to our trusted miller Alberto and are now with another miller. There it is much more efficient and more hygienic. The olives are first washed here before pressing. There is a negative point. Alberto's yield was always between 14 and 16% (so 100 kilos of olives = 14 to 16 kilos of oil; now the yield was 11.5%. You can't have everything in life.
Because of the early harvest the oil is a bit more peppery than normal. The "Novello" is again coloured beautifully green, slightly cloudy and slightly spicy so. Delicious for on a "brushette" (toast with garlic salt and oil). We would like you to enjoy this delicious "Novello" at an attractive price. This year only jugs of 3 litres at € 30. (So 10€/litre including can instead of 12€ ex can).
Please send me an email, because then I know how many cans I can reserve for you. Delivery between Saint Nicholas (05 December) and Christmas.
Report November 2012
Our harvest has largely failed due to a prolonged period of heat and drought. We had to buy oil from our neighbours to meet the demand. The oil is certainly of the same quality as ours. Since this year their oil even has a quality mark "DOP". It is worthwhile for our neighbours to apply for a DOP certificate. They have over 2500 large trees.
Report November 2011
The brand name of our oil in English is "The Passion of the Hill" Our house is located in a region with many olive groves. In November, all around us, people are working in the olive groves, laying out nets, picking olives, taking away full crates, placing ladders, etc... Often whole families help each other to harvest as quickly as possible and then go from olive grove to olive grove to pick the next one. The conversation of the day usually is then: "How many olives did you have? What was your yield? What is the taste this year? How fast did you pick? What did your wife prepare for the pranzo (=lunch) this year? Where do you have your olives pressed? You can feel the passion for the olives and the oil.
In November it is clear to feel that autumn is approaching. During the day it is often sunny and pleasantly warm. In the sun it is great to work outside. Towards the end of the afternoon, when the sun goes down, a cold falls over the fields. Time to put on a sweater. Every year we have guests from the Netherlands who come over especially to experience the olive harvest. Everyone who has been is very enthusiastic about the atmosphere around picking and pressing in the oil mill, the food and wine tasting in the evening. Meanwhile we have a waiting list of friends and acquaintances to come and help with the picking. For example, Dutch friends in Umbria had in 2010 a guest who also fancied the harvest atmosphere and came to pick with us. In 2011 he came back with three more friends. We were then with ten and could make two teams with two nets. It was a kind of race against each other. In the meantime we had a nice chat with each other, telling jokes, challenging each other to get that last olive on that high branch out, etc..