On our farm the greatest efforts are made to practise sustainable farming. Nature-based agriculture is an assurance of high quality produce at a fair price for the consumer and a reasonable profit for the farmer. Green manure (sovescio in Italian) is one of the best contribution to sustainable agriculture.
Green manure is obtained by growing "cover crops" at the end of the season to prepare the soil for the succeeding one. Cover crops become green manure by ploughing in just before ripeness into seeds/fruit. The primary function of green manure is to increase soil fertility without the use of any chemical fertilisers or pesticides.Fava beans are one of the most commonly used cover crops for improving olive orchard soil fertility. Fava beans are planted/sowed at the end of olive harvesting season around November/December and grown until March/April.
The photo above shows our orchard in early April with fava plants ready to be ploughed in. Favas belong to the legume family and are particularly beneficial to olive soil because they produce a significant amount of biomass, plus their leguminous nature enriches the soil with a large amount of nitrogen.
At Azienda Agricola Gorrasi green manure in conjunction with animal manure are very important to produce our high quality Extra-Virgin Olive Oil. We definitely aim at making an ecosystem of our farm rather than a factory.