There are 60 million olive trees in Puglia.
That equates to 15 trees per head of population in the region. Olive oil is central to the Cucina Povera of Southern Italy, where family growers consider care of the trees to be part of their cultural heritage.
Unfortunately, the olive trees of Puglia are under threat from a bacterial infection called Xylella Fastidiosa, which is carried from tree to tree by small insects. One sixth of Puglia’s olive trees are infected with the bacterium, which causes the olive tree to dry up and stop producing olives. Trees are being culled and extensive research is being carried out in an effort to combat the spread of the disease. You can read more about the fight to save Puglia’s olive tree heritage here.
Despite this challenge, the olive oil of Puglia retains its unique centuries-old character. The healthy trees pictured are from the wonderful Masseria San Domenico on the Puglian coast at Fasano. Masseria San Domenico is part of a group of family-owned Masserie, including the beautiful Masseria Cimino with its wonderful Pugliese cuisine served in intimate surroundings. Masseria San Domenico produces a range of fine olive oil products for use in their estate, including the bijoux San Domenico House in the West End of London.