La amistad entre olivos y abejas…
Fausto explains that the following points are taken from his speech at the oil workshop entitled “Olio Oficina Food Festival 2013-Milano” , directed by Luigi Cargado. The complete speech has been published in Italy in Cavolo Verde, an on-line magazine for which he writes.
The first question is: why does the olive tree have such a long life? The olive is a tree, a living being of the vegetable world, one which I would define as quite brilliant. It has been endowed with great vegetable-world intelligence. This is one of the forms of intelligence that exist in nature. The olive is such an intelligent and diplomatic tree, displaying wisdom and foresight. Its roots comprehend and interpret at least twenty different parameters found in the place where it grows, thus creating a unique dialogue between itself and the soil that sustains it. It is this dialogue that guarantees the olive tree a long and harmonious life, and which gives it a strength and resistance that few other large trees have.
The olive tree has also decided that during its annual phases of passion and love, it will make good use of the wind.
Scientifically, the olive is classified as an anemophilous plant, which means it relies on the wind for fertilisation. The wind is responsible for carrying the tree’s most precious and vital essence: pollen. Thus the air becomes a potent messenger of love. Depending as it does on the wind, and perhaps for this reason, the olive produces a high number of flowers, between twenty and twenty-five per stem, which increases the possibilities of successful reproduction. But the wind is not tied to any one place, and often changes its mind, its strength and its direction. Few olives will be produced compared to the number of flowers.
In the midst of this debate on the ” causality of winds in olive groves “, new and unforeseen actors suddenly appear on the scene: bees – with their expert knowledge of flight, mastery of the winds and of pollens – and beekeepers. And what if we were to unite both spheres of knowledge? What would the outcome be? We would find that the beekeeper could perhaps demonstrate knowledge and skills that the those who cultivate the land and olive trees cannot begin to imagine.
How can this be?
Bees are experts in pollen: they keep a small amount of fresh nectar in their pollen baskets, which will enable them to moisten the pollen and reduce it to small balls that they can better carry in flight. Pollen moistened with nectar is very sticky, and it will stick more readily to other surfaces, and where there is pollen there are results: fertilisation. And so if bees can fly among the olive blossom, always visiting the same flowers as they know so well how to, the number of healthy, oil-bearing olives will be greater. This is precisely what so ew people know, and yet what so many olive trees would deeply thank their carers and growers for.
Las abejas hacen su pequeño milagro. Si ponéis colmenas en vuestros olivares, percibiréis cuantos beneficios os pueden aportar.
And thus do the bees perform their own little miracle. If you place some beehives in your olive groves, you will soon appreciate the benefits they will produce.