Sunday, June 1, 2014
Castiglion Fiorentino - Surrounding Lots of Farmland
Last tuesday, May 27th, we toured the farms that surround our Santa Chiara campus in Castiglion Fiorentino with Dr. Lombardini. Of all the various crops, olive trees vastly outnumbered their nutrient-dependent rivals. The olive trees are buried deeper in the ground than most other crop trees to the point where only the branches of the tree of sprout up out of the ground, resembling a bush. The olive trees outside of Santa Chiara have a very interesting history. If I can recall correctly, there was a particularly miserable winter in Italy in the early 1980's with some of the lowest temperatures witnessed in the century, especially damaging to the agriculturally dependent Tuscan region (Including Castiglion Fiorentino), diminishing the crop yield and killing great portions of olive trees. Dr. Lombardini stated that the olive trees that we see around our campus most likely sprouted back from the roots after the winter from hell, irony unintended.
The trees adjacent to Santa Chiara at the current time have four-five shoots sprouting from the ground, although they started with as many as ten-fifteen. As an olive tree ages, in accordance with the survival of the fittest theory, the weakest shoot must be cutoff every few years to accommodate the more productive shoots. Eventually, the remaining four shoots of the Castiglion Fiorentino olive trees will be dwindled down to just one trunk, the most productive shoot.
As far as analysis goes I can only describe the taste of the olive oil that we, as a class, purchased to soak the dry Tuscan bread in, which is quite good I have to say.