Award-Winning Producer on Corsica Stays Optimistic Despite Island’s Challenges

Scorching spring and summer temperatures and ongoing drought, which have been the bane of olive growers on the European mainland, are also impacting farmers on Corsica.

“We started our harvest much earlier this year due to the extreme heat and lack of rain, in mid-September instead of early October as we have been used to these last years,” Emile Borel-Berta, an author and the co-owner of Moulin Oltremonti, told Olive Oil Times.Borel-Berta purchased the farm with her husband, Ivo, in 2008. The estate sits on 35 hectares of rolling hills in Monte, on the east coast of the fourth-largest island in the Mediterranean Sea. On another five hectares, the family runs a modern two-phase mill.

Last year, Moulin Oltremonti produced about 35 tons of extra virgin olive oil. However, Borel-Berta said she suspects the farm will yield far less olive oil this year.Normally, Borel-Berta cites Corsica’s climate – including plenty of sunshine throughout the year, ample fresh water resources and cool mountain breezes during the summer – as part of what endows her award-winning olive oil with its distinct organoleptic qualities.

However, she acknowledged that climate change was bringing new challenges and opportunities to olive farming and oil production in Corsica, adding to all the existing ones.

“We face the difficulties that every island faces, mainly its isolation,” she said. “Despite the beauty of our climate and the natural resources which make it a perfect place for olive production, we face the same problems that other farmers face, but more accentuated.”

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