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Olive oil disaster in 2014

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2014 is viewed as the worst year ever for olive oil production in Italy. For what is produced the quality is expected to be very poor. For Central Tuscany the year is even worse than the disastrous 1986 when a prolonged period of sub-zero temperatures severely damaged most olive trees.

The reasons for this are two-fold - poor weather throughout the year and particularly at crucial periods as well as widespread infection by the olive fruit fly (mosca olearia).

On top of this a heatwave in Spain has resulted in their production being roughly 40% less than normal levels. Prices have soared at the exchange in Leon whereas in Italy prices at the exchange in Bari, for example, are already up 38%.

Apart from this year's production being down (as much as 80% in many areas) many are warning that oil sold as "Made in Italy" will this year include a greater proportion of inferior oil from Northern Africa and elsewhere. Read the label carefully.

Perhaps this year one should give Italian oil a miss and rush out and buy what is still available of last year's oil (here I am talking about quality oil rather than Filippo Berio type oil). Although I normally buy the new oil each year now may be an exception.

Suggestions -
1. Buy last year'squality oil which you are sure has been stored in a cool and dark place.
2. Consider buying 5 liter cans of good extra virgin oil and decant into bottles as and when needed.

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