There is a lot of literature out there on the right way to do things in this industry whether it is planting, pruning, harvesting, milling, storage, or any of a number of other aspects of the business. In a perfect world they sound great and are what we strive for, but we see and hear a lot from people taking those points a little too far. Sometimes the physical or economic realities of the situation simply don't allow you to do something the way it is described in a book. Pruning this year is a perfect example of that.
Ideally we'd like to prune, weather permitting, as soon as we finish harvesting. Often times this would drag out a bit as we avoid having open cuts on the trees close to rainfall, but that timing would be perfect. The problem is that we do not only mill olives from our own orchard. We also mill fruit we purchase and fruit for clients. Manpower tends to be in short supply at that time of year. This year, we finished milling late due to a very good crop, and once we had the time to really go after pruning, a month of wet weather moved in.
The result is we are still pruning in early April, which is not really ideal but there was no other option under the circumstances. Here Jose, our farm manager, works his way down a row of 10 year old Frantoio and Leccino trees.