When my parents moved to Southern Italy in 2005, the town Salve felt like a movie set from an Italian movie in the 50’s. The rural region of Salento, the most Southern tip on the heel of Italy’s boot, feels like the forgotten part of Italy. Where the vegetables still rule the topics of discussions, life is simple yet absolutely beautiful. Away from modern consumption and stresses, here you find a unique place to breathe.
During Ferragosto season, the locals make sure to turn on their party lights, prepare everything for the storm of tourists, that comes to enjoy the turquoise sandy beaches, bars, and restaurants. In the months before and after Ferragosto, this place is the off the beaten track gem of Europe. With its vibrant Salentino culture, you find here a place to explore and find cultural, natural and delicious wonders.
Puglia is famous for its olive oil. You can drive here more than the length of Switzerland, and watch the olive trees fly by the window. Hours and hours, young olive groves and grimply old trees and groves, that have stood there for hundreds of years. Some say even Jesus has walked past these trees.
This is where we live, we farm on a small antique olive grove with a big Pajara (trullo type stone house) and about 150 trees. Some of them are estimated to be up to 1000 years old. Through the vision of my parents, this overgrown piece of land has received a second life. Over 12 years we have been working on rejuvenating our rocky piece of land. The many fruit trees are bearing fruits again, the olive trees have gained their strength back to produce a wonderful Extra Virgin Olive Oil. Many different species of animals and vegetation from the Mediterranean Macchia have recovered and are prospering beautifully on our farm.
This is what we call organic farming. Space where birds, insects and lots of flowers and weeds have space to live in symbiosis with each other. While we produce on a natural basis olive oil, we also produce vegetables and fruits en masse.
Since a few years, the Xylella Fastidiosa bacterium is attacking and strangling olive trees across Salento. This epidemic is spreading slowly but fiercely across the region. It is a very depressing development to watch. The bacterium is slowly drying out the trees and to date, there is no cure found. Some experts recommend to cut down the trees to stop it from spreading, other experts suggest using pesticides across the land. Neither option has proven to be successful and the population is fighting for their right not to use pesticides to expose nature and people to chemics at this scale.
We are fighting to keep our olive trees alive because we are not ready to give up. Our plan is to support the trees and strengthen them so that they can hopefully survive this epidemic. The process to do so requires a lot of additional labor and money. But we believe, this is worth fighting for. The culture of olive oil and its history goes back thousands of years, and its time to fight for honest and healthy farming. We ask you to support us in this fight and help us achieve this goal.
While we are working on our trees we are also building up an Agriturismo. So that on one side we can support our income as a small-scale farmer and also because we want to invite like-minded people to be part of our project and enjoy the tranquility and beauty Salento has to offer.
At the moment we are at a turning point, we need financial support to be able to keep working as hard as we can to keep our farm and the trees alive. Watch the video about our project on and support our project HERE: https://wemakeit.com/projects/agriturismo-l-upupa.
Adopt an olive tree today, you will appreciate it.
Thank you, Makoto