A huge thank you to all CrowdFarmers for joining our community so we can offer our products directly to you. We are very grateful to each and every one of you for adopting one of our organic olive trees here at Fattoria Lavacchio. We are passionate about our profession and happy to share our news with you.
2020 has been very challenging in many ways, and the harvest will be impacted at some point.
Firstly, the pandemic has, of course, affected our work. In March, in the middle of olive pruning, strict confinement measures introduced by the Government were enforced. It forced us to stop working and to review the organisation for health and safety purposes and, consequently, we weren’t able to prune all the trees we had planned to (we usually prune a third of our trees per year) Therefore, next spring we will have to prune twice as many trees.
Furthermore, the significant deterioration of the hospitality sector, due to travel restrictions and uncertainty, reduced our usualtourist flow to almost zero, and seriously affected Agritourism and the farm broadly speaking. In addition, sales to restaurants, which usually account for 50% of our income, have also dropped dramatically. In response, we were forced to reduce employee working hours to a part-time basis.
Fortunately, the adoptions, which we were very excited about, have increased week after week – 720 adoptions were achieved in less than six months – simply because you, CrowdFarmers had faith in us to provide you directly with 3 bottles of high quality olive oil. This gave us the opportunity to ask our agritourism employees if they would like to participate in the olive harvest as well as bottling and packaging. They were happy to reconvert as it allowed them to work full-time again – that was a relief for us and the whole team.
Since the kids were home schooling they also helped out picking the olives! Diego and Diamante harvesting in the photos below:
Secondly, the climate which was quite weird (a mild winter, a hot spring followed by a long drought during summer) contributed to the trees producing very small olives and an early harvest. The crop was of course abundant, due to the pruning deficit, but this will affect next year’s production.
In fact, since Nature governs through its natural cycle, we are aware that the trees will produce less olives next year and thus we expect approximately half the quantity of oil we produced this year. When the tree produces a large amount of vegetative growth one year (like this year) it has little energy left over to form fruiting buds and consequently the crop is light the following year. Pruning helps regulate the production avoiding alternation of poor and bumper years. My experience has been that our unpruned trees produced bumper crops or nothing at all. Not a single olive! This is why we regularly prune about 2600 olive trees every year.
For the reasons above, we had to slightly increase the new olive oil prices and we hope you will continue adopting your tree. Whatever happens you can be assured that the quality of our oil will never be compromised and we trust you will always enjoy it.
Additionally since we operate with biodynamic farming principles we make our own compost by using the pruning litter (twigs, stems, leaves) added to manure. For next year we have made the decision to purchase specific machinery to gather the “litter" so that all composting materials can be gathered more quickly and brought to the compost pile in a more mechanised way, which will save a lot of time. We believe in giving back to the Earth what we take and making the farm even more sustainable.
Being a first time Farmer with CrowdFarming, initially we had trouble organising the packaging process as there was a limited time span between the olive harvest, the bottling and the packaging to deliver the oil to you before Christmas. It was not an easy task and a little rushed but all of us at Fattoria Lavacchio worked tirelessly, yet with spirit and passion to meet this year’s deadline. We really wanted you to get this freshly produced olive oil as it is a unique experience.
Next year we will be more organised and we have decided to maintain the delivery close to the harvest period, even though it is just before the holidays. We want you to be able to continue with this unique experience, even if we may have to work at night for it!
Traditionally, the Olive tree is a symbol of peace and friendship and we extend an olive branch to all our CrowdFarmers for putting your faith in us and being true connoisseurs of good quality extra virgin olive oil.
We have received a lot of positive feedback and it was heartwarming to read your messages, so thanks again to all of you who adopted. We also hope in the future to welcome many of you to Fattoria Lavacchio, your new home in the heart of Tuscany, in the hills of Florence.
We are so grateful and looking forward to your continuing future support.
Faye, Dimitri, Marino, Pino, Anna, Fabian, Linda, Nathalie, Alessio, Olivia & all the kids