If we have learned anything in dealing with COVID the past two years, we have hopefully learned, or at least have been reminded, of what is important in life. It is not money or material goods. Instead, it is faith, family, friends, and of course our physical and mental health. All of these priorities are among the many reasons I was so excited to stumble upon what I consider to be one of the most unique and meaningful gifts to give this Christmas. It is a gift that can be given to yourself, a loved one or friend, and can even be done in the name of your family, church, or favorite charity.
The “Torciano Adopt an Olive Tree” program is a truly worthwhile effort of the Tenuta Torciano winery in northern Italy. My husband and I had the opportunity to stay at the beautiful property, Hotel Vecchio Asilo, owned by the Torciano family and learned how their adoption program came about. The Torciano family wanted to help those struggling due to the fallout of the pandemic. Their wineries are located in the rolling hills of Tuscany just outside the medieval town of San Gimignano. They noticed that many of the olive trees dotting the countryside were dying. By purchasing a plot of land containing a number of those trees, they thought they could provide badly needed jobs for residents and improve the environment at the same time.
And that is how the “Torciano Adopt a Tree” program was born. You can learn more about this program by listening to my interview (it starts at 25:49) which was recorded in the olive tree fields during one of our most recent trips to Bella Italia. In short, all the proceeds from the adoptions go right back into keeping farmers employed. When you adopt a tree, you will receive not only a beautiful certificate with a photo, but also a large bottle of their special “Laudatosi’ olive oil, named after the Pope’s encyclical, dedicated to caring for the earth. My husband and I decided to adopt our own tree in honor of our grandparents and Italian heritage. But this would be a great gift for an entire family. It would also be a wonderful gift for parishioners to give to their pastor, or a beautiful donation to make in honor of and to support your favorite charity. Of course, it can also serve as an incentive to travel to Tuscany to visit your tree and learn more about the efforts that are truly making a difference.