THE OLIVE HARVEST 2015 - all good news at last for an excellent EVOO

Crates of olives are emptied at the olive press

There are a lot of olives to be picked in 2015 - and they are all in excellent shape. The Italian olive harvest 2015 is the exact opposite of the utterly miserable harvest that took place in 2014. This October and November plenty of olives are being turned into some of the best Tuscan and Italian extra virgin olive oils of the last decade or two. 

The extremely hot summer may have been hard to deal with for humans, but the high temperatures were ideal for Italy's olive trees, since the heat stopped the reproduction of the crazy pests that run havoc in the groves the year before (the male of the olive fly goes sterile once temperature hits 32 degrees).  


Our fifty plus trees produced 815 kg of olives with a yield of 90 kg of extra virgin olive oil  - during the 2014 harvest we picked a mere 90 kg of olives which produced 8 kg of EVOO. For more info on our average yields read my detailed post about the disastrous olive harvest 2014. This autumn the picking has been so pain free that there isn't really much to write about! 

Our olive oil is for family use only, but if you're planning to stock up on quality EVOO, 2015 is a great year to buy the one produced in Tuscany. And if you're thinking of buying your own grove - read Olive Picking for Dummies first. 

Tools for the olive harvest on a table in a Tuscan olive grove

Nets to collect the olives under a tree in an olive grove

A dog and a Tuscan native picking olives with an electric tool

Olives being unloaded from an Ape car at the Frantoio (olive press)

A girl counting the crates of picked olives on a lorry arriving at the press

Two Tuscan farmers waiting for the first oil

A dog under an olive tree during the harvest 2015

Healthy black and green olives on a Tuscan tree in autumn 2015

A lorry filled with crates of our Tuscan olives

A table in an Italian olive grove by the end of the harvest and a few forgotten olives

The freshly pressed EVOO at the frantoio


Ochre, terracotta and any existing shade of burnt sienna are the colours that come to mind when thinking of the famous rolling hills. However, for a few months each year, the Tuscan landscape doesn't look like something coming out of a pottery workshop, but like Ireland in summer. Minus the rain. And the Guinness. 

It won't last though. Unless Tuscany's warm season is unusally wet like the incredibly rainy summer 2014, the landscape will look like this by the end of spring.

A glass of Vermentino wine in front of the the ocre colored Tuscan hills in July


Old lady holding a plate with polenta next to an open fire

All of Tuscany seems off-the-beaten path in winter and not even the Uffizi will boast the usual crowds and queues. So imagine how quiet things get in my Tuscan village, where American and Japanese tourists don't even come through in high season.

But one night every February, a barbecue is installed on Cinigiano's town square and the line in front of it will be longer than the one at the Vatican. Winter being cold in southern Tuscany too, lots of red wine will have to be drunk to warm up whilst watching the locals prepare the rivolti, an incredibly basic flour and water only pancake totally appropriate for the start of lent. But Cinigiano being Tuscan - and hence communist at heart - lent isn't taken too seriously, so expect plenty of wine, polenta and fried sausages.


Dress warm and arrive early (before 7.30 pm) to avoid the polenta queue. Not here in winter? Visit Cinigiano and its Montecucco wines during the rest of the year. 

The foodie queue during the 'notte dei rivolti'

Rivolti in a frying pan on an outdoor winter night

Rivolti and polenta in the making


Looking for Tuscany related travel advice? Wondering when to visit, which city to spend an extra day in and what restaurant to avoid at all cost? Map It Out provides trip planning help for individual travelers and small groups, who plan to taste the best wine and dodge the worst meal. 

Some Siena or Florence tips are relevant for most visitors and can be easily found on the internet or right here on my blogs (how to skip the Uffizi queue again and which organic Brunello winery to visit) - other recommendations for your stay in Tuscany will depend on taste, age and interests of the traveler exploring our hills.


For more local insight and 
info about Map It Out's expert advice for your Tuscan itinerary send Katja an email (more about me here). My tailor-made tips for recommended sights, winery visits and booking service of hands-on activities or guided tours during your holiday normally cost between 90€ and 150€ (depending on the size of group and type / amount of customized travel advice needed). Travel consulting is normally via email; as an alternative a skype call can be organized on request. 

Or just visit the Map It Out Instagram or Facebook stream, to consult my very own Best of Tuscany itinerary. My favorite days start in a Tuscan museum or with an off-the-beaten-path hike, lead to a good local meal accompanied by a fine glass of wine and end on a lonely beach.  

a DIY beach hut on the Alberese National park beach

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