Europe suffers olive oil disaster: How you can survive it

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“For olive oil producers, 2014 is the year they wish had never happened,” says Rolando Beramendi, who imports fine Italian oils and other food products through his company Manicaretti.
“The weather was so strange … terrible hailstorms, unusual wet weather,” he says. As a result, one of his top producers — Tenuta di Capezzana in Tuscany — isn’t going to make any oil at all.
“They ran the press one day and then just said the quality was so bad that they just turned it off,” Beramendi says.

Pamela Sheldon Johns, who runs a popular bed and breakfast in Tuscany where oil is made, wrote on her Facebook page: “No olive harvest this year. No oil.

“I couldn’t believe it when I heard that other artisanal producers here in southern Tuscany weren’t picking so I went to check every one of our 800 trees. All bad. Olives on the ground, others still on the tree but withered. Not even a few olives to make an oil for our own use.

“We can blame the weather…. No winter temps that killed off pests. No summer, just rain. And we can blame the Bactrocera oleae, a fly that took advantage of the bad weather and proliferated to an astounding degree in a large area of central Italy.”

Making matters even worse in Italy, says olive oil expert Tom Mueller, author of “Extra-Virginity,” are government actions.

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