Harvesting healthy olives in the Xylella-ravaged region of Puglia

As reported by Olive Oil Times, olive growers are celebrating a sign of hope and rebirth” after harvesting healthy olives from trees recently reintroduced to the Xylella fastidiosa-ravaged region of Puglia.

Farmers from Casarano, a commune located close to Lecce at the heel of Italy’s boot, have harvested olives from their two-year-old trees belonging to the Favolosa cultivar (or Fs-17).

Due to the bad weather, we are harvesting at most 10 percent of the true potential of these young trees, but [this harvest has been] a great success compared to the six or seven years that it would have taken our Xylella-hit traditional cultivars, such as Cellina and Ogliarola, to achieve the same results,” local farmer Cosimo Primiceri told Italian daily Corriere della Sera.

Primiceri was one of the first to plant the Xylella-resistant cultivar in this part of Puglia, an area in which traditional olive groves have been wiped out by the disease.

Fs-17 is not a common cultivar. It was discovered and patented by the Italian National Research Council (CNR) more than 30 years ago. It is descended from the Frantoio variety and was bred for medium to high-density cultivation. The Favolosa trees usually yield high numbers of olives each year and the fruits ripen early. The variety is also self-fertile, which allows it to grow well in monovarietal orchards.

In addition to these selected qualities, Italian researchers have also discovered that the cultivar is immune to the highly deadly and contagious Xylella fastidiosa.