The Centuries-old Olive Trees of Salento

 

The whole Puglia and the Salento are often remembered by passing tourists, as well as from regular visitors for its natural beauty, the sea, the long beaches and the olive groves. The olive tree, like the vine, is one of the most anciently known plants in Puglia, in fact many authors attest that since ancient times the region produces more olive oil than anywhere else in the country; it seems that the oil crops stands out around the seventh century. B.C. and there is no doubt that the olive growing has always played a major role in the Puglia’s economy. Throughout the territory there are around 50-60 million of olive trees, many of them centuries old.

Expanses of trunks warped by time, all the same and yet different in structure, form, in the impressive head of hair, the olive trees stand out against the Salento landscapes, giving it smells the typical colors. The geological characteristics and the low need for care, mean that the olive trees resist for years, decades, and even centuries, to the weather, the destructive force of the wind and the torrential rain and the intolerable heat of the summers salting. It is primarily their shape to enchant and leave gaping adults and children: the plant grows very slowly and over time the trunk is transformed, becoming more and more twisted, leaning on himself and, after a long time, it breaks apart in the middle. The courts take different shades of color depending on the age of the trunk, as well as the penetration of sunlight that burns and dry wood; when the sun is not beating, in fact, the wood tends to be wetter and sometimes to rot. Although the characteristic appearance of the olive trees, especially those age-old, is the trunk, the true essential element lies in the large foliage: myriads of small balls and dark from which to produce the green gold of Salento, the olive oil, now exported and known throughout the world.

Beyond the commercial value, these trees have mostly a historical value and, in some respects, also affective, so they must be constantly protected and safeguarded from possible deforestation or explants: often, individuals choose to decorate their villas explanting the olive trees, which if not replaced in a suitable soil, are likely to dry out.

Especially in recent years, with the advent of the economic and financial crisis, people often choose to deforest entire areas originally intended for the cultivation of olive trees to make way for new, more productive crops or, at worst, to the installation of technological systems. Also at the regional legislative level we try to intervene to settle the matter, aiming to the safeguard of the territory and its special characteristics, but human needs are constantly and rapidly changing, perhaps too hasty compared to the natural rhythm of a tree that boasts centuries of life.

"Clear and liquid crystal" sung by poets and holy and humble fruit of ancient traditions; fragrant and full-bodied ointment able to confer flavor and enhance the most delicate flavor, delicious caress for fine palates, the Italian oil reveals its secrets in the IT5 of the week.