Organic cultivation           [available also in italian]

First and foremost one thing should be clarified: organic farming does not mean "do not do - do not use - do not
make a profit!" On the contrary, organic farmers have to learn to understand the various processes, exchanges,
balances and relationships existing in nature in order to organise their farms in such a way that they produce
more with a lower negative social or environmental impact.
The organic farm must be looked on as a complete ecological organism. It is not just enough to say that it uses
a "farming method that does not make use of synthesis chemicals"; managing the farm requires a lot of
knowledge and a lot of patience. Fertility is restored to the soil by methods like green manuring (to introduce
large masses of vegetable organic substances naturally into soils poor in humus) and rotation of crops (to allow
the soil to regenerate itself, taking advantage of the spontaneous discontinuance of certain substances such as,
for example, nitrogen by certain plants such as legumes), to bring a crop to fruition. The natural cycles of plants
and animals are respected ("forced" cycles for getting squash in January or two eggs a day from the same hen
are not permitted) and all this calls, first and foremost, for what is nowadays the most sought-after and expensive
factor, time. Respecting the natural timing of the growth of a tomato means waiting at least three months from the
time the seed is planted and only being able to enjoy it, fresh and flavourful, during the hot season. Conventional
farming has made us used to eating anything any time we feel like it but it has also made us forget the true taste
of our fruits and vegetables, without overlooking the fact that the substances used to obtain a product out of
season are, in the long term, very harmful for us and the environment in which we live. I know I am preaching to
the converted but, unfortunately, routine, haste and laziness about changing our habits makes it difficult for us to
put our good intentions into practice.
The true organic farmer must have a global vision of the ecosystems. Cultivated land is a complex "system" of the
world in which we live, where a series of balances exists, such as the cycle of nutrients, the presence of preys
and predators, competition between plants etc., which need to be "managed", not "exploited". One of the basic
principles of the organic approach is that it is not the plant that is nourished but the soil!
In growing our olives we fully apply the ethical and practical systems of organic agriculture. Only organic
substances of natural origin and green manure are used for fertilising. Treatments are done with minimal
quantities of copper and sulphur and only when strictly necessary. Dangerous insects are controlled first and
foremost by trying to re-establish an environment where there are many useful birds and antagonist insects,
thus restoring a natural balance. Where this is not enough, particularly in the fight against the olive fly (Dacus
Oleae), we try covering the fruit with a solution of water and kaolin, for instance, to discourage the insects from
laying eggs. Then pheromone traps, which create sexual confusion between the male and female insect and
prevent them from mating, are hung on the trees, or we set poisoned attractant traps. All this, because natural
products do not last long, involves a tremendous amount of work in the field and almost constant monitoring so
that attacks can be fought at the time of real necessity. In conventional farming everything is solved much more 
simply: all that is needed when the fly arrives are a few treatments with the strong "dimethoate" and there is
nothing to worry about. The fly and everything around it is killed and the harvest is saved. In some vast areas of
the island of Crete, where harvests were threatened for years by the attack of the olive fly, they found that using
organic methods naturally reduced the spread of this insect, thanks to the spontaneous increase in antagonist
birds and insects. This small, almost insignificant, mechanism should be enough to make us think about our
own health and the health of the world, which we all say we care so much about, which we talk about but which
few of us are prepared to do anything about.

huile d'olive  culture bio arbres etiquettes histoire culture production santé