May 9, 2019

A pathogen is destroying Italy’s olive trees

Posted by in categories: biotech/medical, business

Olive trees don’t just dot the landscape in Puglia, Italy; they define it. They are so important here, in the heel of Italy’s boot, that locals use words like “patrimony” and “cultural heritage” when describing them. But what is worrying olive growers here is a disease that’s killing olive trees by the millions.

Paul Cappelli, who’d been an advertising executive in New York City until a few years ago, left his job and moved to a home on the ancient Appian Way surrounded by olive trees, and entered the oil business. “Not the Texas oil business; I’m in the real oil business!” he said.

Today, Villa Cappelli produces about 10,000 liters of olive oil, 95 percent of it sold in the U.S.

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