06 Mar

one of Britain’s first olive groves

Vineyard to produce own olive oil

Britain’s balmy weather has led a Shropshire vineyard to create one of Britain’s first olive groves – normally found in sweltering Mediterranean climes.

Wroxeter Roman Vineyard is making the most of global warming and plans to start planting a commercial olive grove to make Shropshire’s own extra virgin olive oil.

Martin Millington, who runs the vineyard, visited the town of Pistoia in the Tuscan heartlands to collect 305 olive trees from the Innocenti Virgilio company.

He hopes to harvest his first crop in a year’s time and then be up to full production in five or six years.

Mr Millington, who returned from Italy on Friday, said temperatures had risen so much he believed that the climate in Shropshire would be hot enough for olive cultivation.

He has chosen a variety of olive called of Leccino as well as Pendolino which will help with pollination.

He said: “We have gone for a hardy variety. They will accept a few frosts. We are quietly confident they will do well.

“The trees are about six foot tall and are about four to five years old. There are several parts we will plant them in, in blocks of about 60-70.

“With the leaves, we will be making soaps and balms as well. We want some family recipes from the people in Italy.

“We have given an olive branch to Italy and are doing a bit of Italy in Shropshire. The Romans brought their trees over with them. We are only doing what they did 2,000 years ago.”

Mr Millington said he thought the planet was warming up as part of a natural process.

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