We will NOT be buying in olive oil during 2019/2020. The harvest has been good increasing by 80% on last year’s dismal figures. Even so we will only be selling our own oil from our own olive trees harvested in the winter of 2019, tested by an eminent UK testing company, then brought back to the UK and bottled as required to sell locally in the UK. We will NOT be buying locally (Immoglie) grown olives this year so have very limited supplies of our own Extra Virgin Olive Oil to sell to friends, relatives and acquaintances in the UK and Europe.

A sneak peek at our next harvest in 2020/2021 (harvest collected in December 2020) looks good – subject to weather and the various bugs which can attack the trees – but so far, all is well !!

During 2019/2020 Italian production was up more than was expected but even this increase is not enough to define it as ‘abundant’. ISMEA estimates a production of 365,000 tons – more than double compared to the previous year (175,000 tons). All over the world, however, production figures seem to be lower (-5% on 2018/2019): a decline due to opposite situations, both inside and outside the EU.

European production has fallen significantly due to Spain, whose production reached 1.16 million tonnes dropping by -35% YoY. Greece’s production, on the other hand, is growing albeit at a lower rate than expected at the beginning of the harvest. Other countries productions of Olive Oil are growing as well.

According to the Olive Oil Times, Davide Granieri, president of the Italian olive oil consortium – Unaprol, blamed his country’s poor olive production on climate change, fraud and a flood of cheaper olive oil from Tunisia being imported into the European Union market. Meanwhile, Italy has also been coping with an infestation of Xylella fastidiosa, a pathogen that has devastated groves in some parts of the country – mainly in the Puglia region and the South of the country.

The European Commission also projected a 20 percent drop in olive harvests in Portugal and a 42 percent decline in Greece. In the latter country, periods of extreme drought followed by heavy rains acted as a ‘trigger event’ for olive fly infestations, wreaking havoc on the crops.

Spain is the olive-growing exception, Olive Oil Times notes. Ironically, Spain may have benefited from climate change because ‘unseasonable cold snaps and heat waves lined up perfectly to produce a bumper crop’ in many regions. The EC predicts Spanish olive oil production will reach 1.76 million tons in the 2018-19 season, an increase from the previous season’s production of 1.39 million tons. Spain will produce more than half of the world’s supply of olive oil this season.

Olive Oil from Tunisia is in a glut hence prices are lower but Artisan oils – EVOO from Italy – are selling for upwards of 40 euros a ½ litre, making our oil – at just over £8 a ½ litre including bottle, cap and labels – very reasonable.

The European Union is the leading producer, consumer and exporter of olive oil.

The EU produces roughly 67% of the world’s olive oil. Around 4 million hectares, mainly in the EU Mediterranean countries, are dedicated to the cultivation of olives trees, combining traditional, intensive and super intensive groves.

Italy and Spain are the largest consumers of olive oil in the EU, with an annual consumption of around 500,000 tonnes each, while Greece has the biggest EU consumption per capita, with around 12 kg per person per year. In total, the EU accounts for around 53% of world consumption.

There are 8 different classes of Olive Oil the best being Extra Virgin which is what Haworth’s specialise in and on which we have built our reputation for good quality Extra Virgin Olive Oil from the mountains of Central Italy.

J. Alan Haworth.