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      Harvest 2021 by Giorgio Franci

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      Oinos, December 2021

      We will remember the 2020 harvest as prosperous and fruitful, perfect in terms of climate, a campaign that gave us an exceptional, memorable production. Everything had happened at the right time, nature had indulged her and our needs, following the slow and placid rhythm of the olive trees, from flowering to birth, growth and ripening of the fruit. The last campaign was as fruitful and rich as it is critical of the one that is now drawing to a close.

      The weather has shown us, during this year, the other side of the coin, when nature decides to respect other rhythms, to follow another cadence, another step. Spring 2021 was not very rainy and marked by a late and unexpected frost in April, when it reached -10 °. Despite this slight unexpected event, the flowering and fruit set had come to fruition with success and the olives on the plants were healthy and abundant. The countryside therefore seemed good and promising, even though there was still no rain; the two water bombs in June had only caused damage, without any benefit for the plants or the soil.

      In August the plants were already in shortage, but it is from the second half of September onwards that the complete lack of rain has put the harvest in crisis: the fruits have remained small, with a growth equal to zero, and in some cases they shrank further, causing enormous dehydration. The veraison that has occurred was a consequence of the stress suffered by the plants, not of a correct ripening of the olive and the rapid change of color has consequently led to a rapid transformation of the fruit, which has lost the characteristic freshness of the oil. produced with green olives, now the basis of any quality production.

      The rains that arrived in November finally rehydrated the fruits and the olives reached the right size, but at that point the resulting profiles were those of an already mature product, with notes far from the green fruity we are used to.

      But if it is true that every harvest teaches us something, the confirmation we receive from this campaign is that we cannot think of olive growing without planning the water resource. In fact, in such a difficult and complicated year, it is thanks to the investments made in the past years to equip most of our olive groves with emergency irrigation systems that we have been able to produce beautiful, healthy and quality olives, from which we have obtained great oils: our Villa Magra and Villa Magra Grand Cru, Le Trebbiane and the light fruity Delicate, monocultivar Frantoio. Without the fundamental ad hoc emergency water supply that we have created, this result would not have been possible.

      The great satisfaction of having managed to produce most of our most important labels, always thanks to emergency irrigation, is partially reduced by the impossibility of packaging some of our most popular oils in recent years: the olive grove from which we produce Rose Grand Cru, a monovarietal of Olivastra Seggianese with marked floral and rose petal notes, and the one from which we harvest the olives for our monocultivar di Moraiolo, unfortunately, did not produce fruit this year. Same fate for Franci Bio Toscano Igp, our double certified extra virgin olive oil.

      Although we are sorry for the three labels that are missing, we are nevertheless thrilled to propose some interesting innovations for our light fruity Delicate, which this year comes out in three different versions: Delicate monocultivar Frantoio is a profile already known and highly appreciated in the last few. years of gourmet catering and starred chefs from all over the world; then we have Delicate monocultivar Maurino, fresh and vegetable, and Delicate Bella, a new label, an oil with sweet and bitter notes practically absent, very fragrant of tomato leaf, green pea and fresh broad bean and with a mildly intense spicy, but very long and very pleasant persistence. Two limited productions reserved for our most historic and loyal customers, who over the years have shown continuity and appreciation for our work and for the innovations that we try to implement every year.

      In conclusion, these results tell us about an ambiguous vintage, with a thousand faces and a thousand nuances, hard and tough as only some vintages can be, which takes away a lot but also puts us to the test, pushing us to do our best. with what nature can give us. If that of 2020 can be classified as a 5-star collection, among the best vintages ever for our production, we could say that that of 2021 is a challenge, which as usual we accept without reservations, and which forces us to rethink and remodeling the usual agronomic practices, to create a professional olive growing that, to date, cannot do without the planning of water resources, an investment that requires us to think as a system, through territorial development plans that provide for new types of supply, to create an eco-sustainable circular economy where the quality of our oils grows while respecting the environment and the territory. It is thanks to the choices based on respect for the environment, the raw material and the territory that today we can feel affirmed and encouraged to look towards a more conscious future. Certainly the challenges are not lacking, but we believe it is a duty for us farmers to promote, support and disseminate the good practices already present in our territory, as well as to sensitize the final consumer about the importance of consciously choosing the products brought to the table, for the well-being of the planet and for our health.

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