Meditations

Hang on to your olive oil…


 

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We’re used to trees being sliced regularly around B.C., but in the bucolic region of Puglia? Not so much. Italy’s top olive oil producer, however, could possibly see a staggering million of its olive trees chopped because of a bacterial outbreak. It’s in a bid to create a buffer zone between the 90 percent of trees not infected, but those red marks on the trunks of these ancients, gnarly trees sends shivers down the spine of any food lover who’s wandered through this southern Italian gem. Surrounded by the limestone of the Murgian plains, the 10 million trees pockmark much of the historical landscape. It’s also an area rich with wild fennel, the towns filled with centuries’ old bakeries, and there’s always an olfactory overload from an Adriatic haul — from octopus to red prawns. And everything is punctuated with olives. The Foodists know how delicious their olive oil is while on a trip there with Tonio Creanza, a Vancouver-based, fourth-generation harvester (he also imports his family’s olive oil into Vancouver). He’ll be bringing tours to Puglia again this year, including one with journalist Laura Kiniry (and myself) to talk food, culture and travel writing (May 15-24) – join us if you’re keen on learning more about writing, recording in the field, how to get published and on the radio. There promises to be plenty of olive oil, too…for now.

Shepherd Graziantonio Creanza  - Puglia Italy - Lucy Hyslop

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