Organic Farm Moric

Combining tradition, knowledge, and modern technology as the foundation of sustainable olive farming in Luštica

author: Dr Ilija Moric

There are approximately 1000 olive trees on the 6-hectare estate.

For generations, the resilient people of Luštica have dedicated themselves to the laborious cultivation of olive trees. Through their unwavering partnership with nature, they have crafted exceptional olive oil. This timeless connection between Luštica and olives has persisted for centuries and will endure forever. Like a nurturing mother, the olive tree selflessly gives, even in neglect.

Olive farming in Luštica holds a long-standing tradition, dating back to ancient times, including the Greek and Roman eras. There is a theory that olives were introduced to this region by the Ancient Greeks in the 4th century BCE. However, reputable researchers and experts are increasingly suggesting that olives are an indigenous species, meaning they existed and were cultivated in this area even before the establishment of Greek colonies. This poses an important challenge for science while also affirming the local and national history, culture, and identity.

The long tradition of olive cultivation stems from the multiple uses and significance of olive oil. First and foremost, olive oil serves as both food and medicine. In the past, it was also used in lamps for lighting, traded as a valuable commodity, and its wood was utilized as fuel. The oil was used to preserve cheese, giving rise to the renowned luštički sir made with olive oil. Moreover, olives thrived in the poor, rocky soil, consistently bearing fruit and successfully spreading across the entire coastal region of present-day Montenegro.

Due to its significance in people’s lives, the olive tree has had and continues to have a place in religious customs. The Luštica region is unique in its religious practices, such as sprinkling olive trees with holy water, carrying processions through the olive groves, leaving oil in churches as a vow, customs involving oil during Easter, adorning Christmas logs with olive branches, gathering olive tree branches for Yule logs, and more.

From the rule of the Venetian Republic to modern Montenegrin olive cultivation

Increased growth and development of olive cultivation were recorded during the Venetian rule, with planting being stimulated by laws and penalties. A similar approach was applied later, particularly during the Austro-Hungarian rule. Data from the late 19th century indicate that there were over 140,000 olive trees in the Lustica area, but by the early 20th century, the number had declined to around 98,000.

The economic significance of this industry is evident in the large number of seasonal harvesters who came to Lustica and Boka from other parts of Montenegro. Almost every household, or tavern, had its own mill and press for oil extraction. It is particularly noteworthy that olive revenues surpassed those from other domestic sources.

It is important to note that the development of maritime activities significantly contributed to the growth of olive cultivation. The high profits generated in this sector were invested in the revitalization and planting of new olive groves, as evidenced by the large olive plantations in Lustica today. Olive oil from Luštica was sold in the immediate vicinity, but a much larger quantity was exported by ships from Rose, where the purchasing station was located. In 1928, over 36 wagons of olive oil were loaded and transported by ships from Rose.

Cultural Landscape and the Foundation of Future Organic Olive Cultivation

Luštica’s olive groves stretch continuously along the inner part of the peninsula for over 5 kilometers, particularly in the Klinci-Begovići area. Of course, olive groves can be found in almost all other areas as well (such as Zabrđe and the bays of Žanjic and Vesla), except for the higher elevations of Obosnik and steep slopes above the sea, where the conditions are not favorable for cultivation.

These olive groves represent the iconic cultural landscape of Luštica, which, together with its boundaries, should be further enhanced and protected as a significant natural, cultural, and tourist resource.

In addition to the existing impressive olive groves and indigenous varieties such as žutica and crnica, the long-standing tradition and accumulated knowledge of olives and olive oil are the greatest comparative advantages that form a solid foundation for the future development of modern organic olive cultivation.

Organic production as a sustainable model for olive cultivation

Organic production entails the cultivation without the use of chemical substances, GMOs, ionizing radiation, hormones, or any other products or substances that are not in accordance with natural laws and processes. Furthermore, to obtain organic certification, the entire production process must be monitored by an accredited certification body, such as “Monteorganica”.

Moric Organic Farm

Moric Organic Farm is a unique family-run agricultural project that relies on a long-standing family tradition of olive cultivation and olive oil production.

Even today, the old stone mill and wooden press can be found in the farmhouse cellar, which were once the primary tools for processing. Now, they serve as valuable museum exhibits, rarely used for production but increasingly as a tourist attraction for farm visitors.

Respecting tradition while embracing modern methods, the farm produces high-quality organic extra virgin olive oil.

Currently, this farm is the first and only certified producer of olive oil in Montenegro.

Olives are cultivated in their own olive groves, covering approximately 6 hectares with around 1000 olive trees. Centennial plantations are located in the Klasari area, while young olive trees are also planted in the rocky soil. The harvesting time is carefully selected to obtain olive oil that showcases the richness of flavors and aromas, worthy of representing the potential of žutica and crnica varieties, and to be ranked among the top European and global organic extra virgin olive oils.

When we talk about olive oil production, we are actually referring to the shortest and most natural journey from the olive tree to the table. The fruits are hand-picked, carefully transported, and processed within 24 hours. The entire production process takes place using modern equipment for cold processing, which preserves the original aromas, flavors, and richness of antioxidants and vitamins. After the processing is completed, the oil is stored under perfectly controlled conditions.

The produce

Just as no two wines are the same, no two olive oils are the same, and we should learn to respect and appreciate these differences.

For this reason, mini-courses are organized and conducted on the estate, offering visitors the opportunity to explore the olive groves and the old mill while learning about the history of Luštica, olive cultivation, and production, the importance of olive oil for health, and the unique qualities of Luštica’s olive oil. To complete the experience, there is an essential tasting of organic extra virgin olive oil and a gastronomic journey featuring Luštica products enhanced with olive oil.

Investments and diversification as crucial factors for the survival and further development

The process of olive oil production on an organic farm is comprehensive and includes the farm’s own olive groves, processing, storage, and bottling of the oil. Even the majority of the oil is sold directly, ensuring that the profit stays within the farm. It is well-known that many small farmers suffer significant profit loss due to the inability to complete the value chain, that is, the entire production and sales process.

In addition to knowledge and tradition, a crucial factor for success is investment. Besides using their own resources, important sources of financing are of external nature, with projects and support from the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development being the most significant. In the past year, the following measures from the Agricultural Budget were utilized:

  • Support for organic production;
  • Support for the development of olive growing;
  • Direct payments in crop production;
  • Diversification of economic activities in rural areas.

From previous years, the OADP project stands out, which enabled the acquisition of a modern mill for processing through a grant scheme, as well as a credit arrangement with the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development to address irrigation issues. In the future, an application for IPARD can be expected, particularly for improving processing conditions on the farm, which is a prerequisite for increased and higher-quality production of organic extra virgin olive oil. The conditions of IRF (Integrated Rural Development) offer exciting opportunities for investing in olive oil production, particularly in establishing new orchards.

On the other hand, besides investments, an important strategic approach is the diversification of activities on the estate. At an experimental level, efforts are being made to tap into the agrotourism potential of the farm, primarily focusing on the century-old olive groves, mills, and the oil itself. The offering is complemented by active tourism programs (such as cycling and ATV), as well as other ideas awaiting their full market valorization.

Due to budget constraints and other resources on the farm, it is not possible to fully exploit all possible business potentials of olives. These possibilities are numerous and may be of interest to other producers, including:

  • Possibilities for valorizing the decorative horticultural value of olives;
  • Gastronomy, particularly in traditional dishes;
  • Cosmetic products;
  • Health programs, focusing on healthy eating and recreational activities;
  • Olive oil museums;
  • Galleries and art colonies related to the olive theme;
  • Craftsmanship and applied art in olive wood objects;
  • Interactive programs for the valorization of intangible heritage – customs, boundary construction, etc.;
  • Afforestation of fire-damaged areas with olive trees;
  • Protection of olive spaces from excessive construction;
  • Trade and oil exports;
  • Other tourism and economic activities.


Olive farming is an inexhaustible creative potential and is an important economic resource. In particular, the potential of organic production stands out due to higher and more stable prices, support from the relevant ministry, and its significance for the environment. The current opportunities for starting a business in this field are favorable, especially in terms of financing sources, favorable credit arrangements, and grant schemes.

On the other hand, organic farms have the potential to diversify their activities, particularly in the areas of tourism, craftsmanship, art, trade, and gastronomy. This opens up the chance for the whole family to work and earn income, with continuous innovation and investment in their own capabilities. Additionally, there are undeniable benefits in terms of raising reputation, strengthening socio-cultural identity of the producers, and the attention given to environmental protection and cultural heritage of the area.

Having successfully defended his doctoral dissertation Marketing Aspects of Rural Tourism Development: The Case of Montenegro at the Faculty of Economics, University of Montenegro in Podgorica in 2015, Dr. Ilija Moric became the first expert in Montenegro to specialize in the development of rural tourism from a marketing perspective. During the dissertation process, he published over 30 papers in this field. He has participated in numerous domestic and international scientific conferences, symposiums, and research projects at the University of Montenegro.

In addition to his academic work, he has achieved significant results in the field of rural development, tourism, organic agriculture, and organic food production.

Since September 2006, he has been working at the University of Montenegro, Faculty of Tourism and Hotel Management in Kotor, first as a teaching associate and later as an assistant professor. Since December 2018, he has held the position of Head of the Tourism and Hotel Management study program, and since April 2021, he has been appointed as the Vice Dean for Academic Affairs.

Since November 2022, he has served as the President of the Center of Young Scientists and Artists at the Montenegrin Academy of Sciences and Arts (CANU).






Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *