The rate at which Italian olive groves are being abandoned is rising. The fact is that many Italians are no longer bothering to tend to their olive trees.
Why? Well, the problem is that no one can compete with industrial oil producers. Big olive oil companies, some of whom have questionable sourcing/production practices, are able to sell their oil for very low prices. They have been doing this for long enough that the market demands inexpensive olive oil.
As a result, some small scale olive oil producers in Italy are turning in the towel. Take Tuscany for example; beautiful, amazing, magical Tuscany. As Teatro Naturale, our trustworthy source for Italian agricultural news, reports: in Tuscany, 30% of olive groves have been abandoned. That’s a big number, especially for a region like Tuscany where olive oil is such an important product.
Small scale farmers are leaving their land because the industrial oil competition is so strong. They can no longer make money from olive oil, much less make a living.
Let us leave you with one last thought to ponder. There is always more and more Tuscan EVOO on the market here in the USA but at the same time there are always less and less olives being cultivated in Tuscany. How does that add up?