Francesco Piattelli swapped his New York lifestyle to work on his family’s olive farm in Tuscany. What’s that like? Katie McKnoulty joins him during olive oil harvest season to find out.
We’re picking olives in a sun-drenched field overlooking the Tuscan countryside, a classic view of centuries-old hilltop towns and church spires. This view has barely changed in generations.
Although other things may have… Francesco gets out his portable Bluetooth speaker and plays a track you might hear in a Brooklyn coffee shop. Noticing this paradoxical moment too, he turns to me and says, “People sometimes look down on agricultural work but I mean, look how much fun we’re having!”
It’s October and olive harvest time in Monte San Savino. I’ve been invited to stay with 37-year-old Italian-American Francesco Piattelli and his partner, Francesca Gambato to experience and document the harvest of their 4.5 hectares of olive trees in the heart of the Toscano IGP denomination. They’ve spent the last two years nurturing these olives to produce their organic, sustainable olive oil, Agricola Maraviglia, and they lead harvesting retreats on the side. They grow and harvest their olives using traditional Tuscan techniques—small batch, hands-on and organic. With over 85 per cent of production coming from their restoration of local family-owned groves, they’re helping to regenerate the local environment and keep the Tuscan olive oil economy and legacy alive.