In many cases, olive picking is still done with ancient, traditional, long and demanding methods. Alpha is a tool, created by Luca Di Zio, that could help in this task without forsaking the integrity of the fruits
The olive picking season is approaching, a ritual that is rich in charm – at least where ancient olive groves have not been substituted by intensive ones, among whose tidy lines of trees can pass the large mechanical trunk shakers – but which requires lots of effort for those at work, who often still pick the olives manually or at best with the use of olive harvesters, a sort of electric or mechanical rakes that instead of shaking the trunk of the tree only beat the branches, facilitating the falling of the olives.
This operation is indeed less traumatic than the use of mechanical trunk shakers, and less tiring (and risky) than hand picking, which has to be done on long ladders which one needs to climb to reach the tallest branches, but which nonetheless requires lots of time – something that is very precious in this phase – and sweat, and risks ruining the most delicate olives. In other words, this is a field in which there’s still lots of space for innovation. This was the premise on which Luca Di Zio, a young entrepreneur from Abruzzo – 29 years old, the manager of a company that deals with agricultural machines and products – based his project and decided to use crowdfunding (the collective financing through online platforms) in order to subsidise the production of a new “product for olive picking” temporarily called Alpha, just like the project itself.
A detail of Alpha at work
Themes and characteristics linked to extra virgin olive oil, told by Luciana Squadrilli
a journalist born in Naples now living in Rome, she tries to make her three passions meet: eating, travelling and writing