THE OLIVE GROVES
I look after them, I grow them, I search for them.
The olive tree is a fascinating, magical plant. It can sprout again from its own roots and is resilient and elegant when properly pruned. The natural evolution of my childhood love for this plant and my subsequent studies and work expertise, brought me to decide to produce my own high quality extra virgin olive oil (EVO oil). Azienda Agricola Saltapoggio is the result of the passion I pour into my work and of years of experience.
Saltapoggio is a small business that I run personally. It strives to produce the highest quality EVO oil, thanks to constant attention to innovation, optimization of its distinctive terroir and the preservation of the quality and distinctiveness of its products.
The oil I produce comes from small lots of hilly terrain around Bagno a Ripoli, Settignano and Fiesole, in the area surrounding Florence. The farm covers hilly land between 270 mt (Osteria Nuova – Bagno a Ripoli), 250 mt (Fiesole) e 240 mt above sea level (Settignano – Firenze). I have selected these olive groves for their location and their vocation, but I also chose them in keeping with my direct experience at local oil mills, where I have directly verified the quality of the oil from many different areas within the Florentine district. The groves, therefore, are not necessarily contiguous, indeed, in some cases, they are several kilometers apart. So, hopping from one hill to the other, I prune, collect and control and it came natural to call my company and its extra virgin olive oil: SALTAPOGGIO (Hop the hill in Italian).
An olive tree takes a full year to complete its cycle of production and to yield its precious fruit, the olive. My job is to keep this cycle and its habitat intact, providing the olive trees with the assistance and care needed to cultivate them at best. The varieties of the Saltapoggio groves are typically Tuscan: mainly Moraiolo and Frantoio, as well as Leccino and Pendolino and the cultivation is basically extensive with “simple poly-conical shape” pruning of the trees.
From pruning time to harvesting, I use cutting-edge technology for my plants, opting not to use traditional ladders that could harm the plants and create security issues.
The soil around the olive trees is not ploughed, so grass grows freely around the plants. I cut the grass regularly and let it decompose and form compost that will nourish the plant. Similarly, I use the chopped pruning remains as mulch.
Olive harvesting for Saltapoggio oil proceeds by variety and stage of maturity of the various olive groves and is based on the latest scientific research available. This method is very time consuming since the trees are not planted according to variety, but alternated in the traditional manner so as to favor pollination. Nonetheless, the extraordinary results show that it’s worth it and further attentive care at the oil mill, enhances the chemical and sensory characteristics typical of each variety.
Harvesting takes place in such a way as to reduce the time between picking and pressing: the olives are stored and transported in small perforated crates, allowing constant ventilation and preventing mold formation. Within 24 hours I get them to the oil mill where they go through cold pressing that ensures the oil’s fruity aroma, its slightly pungent and bitter taste along with a very low degree of acidity. Bitterness, along with pungency and fruitiness are all present and well-balanced in the very best olive oils, offering the customer the very best high quality end product.
My goal has always been to maintain the harmony and integrity of the olive plant, making sure every detail is covered. Harmony is at the base of my approach and I make sure the yield of the plant is balanced with its vegetative growth, therefore guaranteeing a rich and vital ecosystem that is as natural as possible. I do not use herbicides, only organic fertilizers, leaving the chopped pruning remains as mulch and employing eco-sustainable pesticides that are environmentally friendly, therefore producing a quality product not only for me and for my family, but also for you!
Bees are a constant source of wonder. They represent a perfect world that I have discovered lately, thanks to the teachings of two friends of mine, who are expert apiculturists. Bees are vital to nature, due to their involvement in the pollination of plants. With their presence they preserve the diversity in wildlife. They are considered a keystone, indicator species, since they are extremely susceptible to whatsoever form of pollution. The outcome of their labor certifies the good health of our farmlands and fields.