At the olive growing farm in Sicily I enjoyed watching the Italian woman speaking to the group. She didn't talk to Ricardo, she talked to us. Her enthusiastic gesticulation made you want to pay attention. It's wonderful that the Italians are so proud of what they do and value their family and traditions. This company was started by her grandfather and has passed down through the family. Also they don't hoard their knowledge but genuinely want to share it with you and share this important piece of their life.
The pride in their business is also shown in how they take care of their plants and process the oil. They have very interesting ways to keep pests away from their crops. Water bottles filled with unsalted sardines and water left to ferment attracts the flies. And wet cotton wrapped around the trunk prevents a beetle from eating the leaves. This is more efficient than chemicals because it lasts three or four months and interrupts mating, lowering the bug population and it is organic. Also they are not wasteful. The water extracted during the oil processing is used as fertilizer for their plants. It's better than regular fertilizer since it is nutritious and lasts longer.
Every step of processing is designed to increase the quality of the product. When grinding the olives the pits are left in. This increases the nutrition of the oil because the seeds contain vitamins, enzymes, and lipids. The pit chunks also help to press more oil out of the olive's flesh.
Every method they use, from pest control to grinding the fruit, is based on the tradition of pride and high quality. There are no short cuts; they truly care about what product they sell.
This Italian enthusiasm is beneficial when it comes to working but has its downside in heated situations. When an Italian is bothered, they aren’t afraid to show it. If they have something to say, they’ll say it. Returning from our trip to the Amalfi coast we experienced this enthusiasm. The bus was late but our group made it on when it did come. Driving back, it stopped multiple times and a few more passengers squished in. At one stop two women began fighting over a seat. The bus driver gave up and called the police who came and solved the situation. So although Italian’s passion fuels their desire for higher quality product, it can also slow them down.