The scorching summer could mean tiny olive and grape harvests here in Abruzzo.  Low yields will be bad for farmers – but rain can still save the day!

In our corner of Abruzzo, this year’s olive harvest is due to start in about six weeks time. Except that it probably won’t because the olives are nowhere near ready and the crop promises to be a tiny one.

Why ? Well, a little earlier this morning, we had our first rain since late June – and the 10-minute shower that flashed over us was scarcely enough to settle the dust.

The signs not promising for a good olive cropAnd because of this summer-long drought, olives that should by now be plump with oily promise are no more than little green bullets, hard and mean, hanging limply from the trees.

It may even now be too late, but unless we get more rain soon to swell the fruit, the olives will scarcely be worth picking as their yield will be pitifully low.

In contrast, last summer’s crop was a bumper one. Our ten trees gave us around 135 kilos of olives, which produced 18 litres of utterly delicious oil.

Plenty to meet our own needs and allow us to be liberal with the bottles we leave for guests in each of our villas.

We’ll always provide complementary olive oil – it’s just so much nicer when it’s our very own !

And if the olive situation’s bad – the position with grapes is even worse.

By now, the harvest should be at its height. Round here, it hasn’t even started yet.

The grapes that we grow in our orchard just for eating shriveled up into sultanas long ago. In commercial vineyards, it’s scarcely any better. Rain within the next week or so might just save the day – but it’s going to be a desperately close-run thing.

Small yields can produce top-notch wines, but with some growers, it might end-up being a case of ‘no yields’ rather than ‘small yields’.

This might have been a great year to take a holiday in the unbroken sunshine we’ve had in this part of Abruzzo. But for farmers, it’s been the worst year that any can remember.