The year that passes and the life that changes.
2020 is certainly a year to remember! At the beginning of October last year we published an article on our producers' forecasts for the 2019/20 olive oil campaign; a picture in dark light where good quality prevailed over a growing quantity if put in relation with the previous year and substantially the confirmation then came, excellent quality but with regions in strong quantitative growth and others in strong decline. Everything started regularly and it seemed that it should continue like this, but today, nine months after the beginning of this year, what has changed for olive growers, what does nature teach us, the time passing and our behaviour?
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The "calm" and the warnings.
In December 2019 "calm" was the usual and the problems in the limelight of the daily news were the usual, national political debate, international events and sport; everything normal, and 2020 seemed to be a year to remember if only for the roundness of the numbers that distinguished it, the twenty twenty! Be careful not to sign cheques or important documents, they said, date and sign with only the last two digits, for example 10/02/20, was a serious danger of counterfeiting because the /20 could become 2021, 2022 as 2019 or 2018...be careful!
The year that changed us.
The year began like all the others, but already at the end of January we started talking about an epidemic, and then gradually pandemic. The first news in the newspapers, on the news bulletins and on the radio became only those concerning the virus, and even today more than six months have passed since the beginning of the confinement. We were first imprisoned for about three months and then slowly regained our freedom, a bail. We started to move again, to travel, to frequent clubs and to go on holiday, but the nightmare haunts us and even today, at the beginning of September, it still hangs over the tranquillity of all of us. Everything has changed, the domestic economy, family and social habits; we understood that the perspective has changed and that the fundamental parameters of our life most likely had to be reviewed, reassessed and changed. In all this, the way we eat and the value we attach to fundamental things has also changed, unlike the voluptuous ones. All this has also strongly conditioned the way of life of those who produce and in this case of the olive growers; closed restaurants and smartworking have given a very hard blow to the trade of extra virgin olive oil that has been missing a large slice of the market certainly not comparable to the growth of online markets.
Olive growers: the advantages of working outdoors...and the disadvantages.
During the period of confinement I always thought of the producers as lucky people, first because they could continue to live their life in the open air and continue to work in the olive groves, and second because they were not conditioned by obligations of distance, dangers of crowding or overcrowding did not have the same limitations as us who lived in the city. Only today when I talk to some of them, who are often not only olive growers but also viticulturists, I realise the great damage that that period did; a damage that cannot be recovered at all in the olive oil sector because EVO oil, unlike wine that acquires value as it ages, after the canonical eighteen months after bottling is no longer marketable. And this does not mean that the wine sector has not suffered damage from the pandemic and confinement unlike the olive and olive oil sector, both sectors have been penalised but in a very different way and with very different consequences.
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Time passing and nature watching us.
Meanwhile what is happening, the pandemic continues to gallop and our hopes are clinging to the new vaccines and the few rules of personal hygiene and social distancing. Time passes inexorably and nature proceeds its life regardless of our problems, fortunately, but conditioned by our behaviour. Beautiful days with torrid heat, real tropical storms and incalculable damage to the ecosystem; nature continues its journey and so do the plants that continue to live suffering the effects of climate change against which they can do nothing but adapt, if possible! The days pass and the growth of the drupes reminds the olive growers that time passes, signals the arrival of ripening, veraison and harvesting; October will come and everything will be as always, at least we hope so. Harvesting, production and bottling with all the hope and positivity that this millenary cycle represents.
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Nature and our behaviour.
The hopes linked to a normal life, which we' ve well understood it is not any more at least from the point of view of the meaning we attributed only a few months ago to this adjective, are strong and the rhythm of nature pushes us to hope that everything will return to normal. But the first ones to re-establish respect for the norm should be us, attributing value and giving respect to that nature which teaches us and reminds us of the rhythm which marks our physical and transitory life, a life as guests who should have great respect for the house in which they live: Mother Nature!