We are in the second month of the olive harvest. In the olive groves all around the finca we see groups of men shaking the olive trees vigourously with long poles. They don't just bash the trees, it's a more precise movement, inserting the pole firmly amongst the branches and agitating firmly. Olives rain down onto either the bare earth or nets, thankfully nets are coming back into fashion after years of cheap chemicals used to kill every blade of plant life in the olive grove, supposedly making collection easier.........dust covered olives?
Olive trees are alway beautiful but much more so in a green meadow rather than a field of dust where systematic poisoning has killed off all the natural flowers and plants.
We are trying to interest the local farmers in going totally biological and only using organic methods for pest control, this is difficult and made more so by the lack of co-operation from the local lagars, olive mills. They don't seem to be interested in building up a reputation for high quality organic oil. In some ways one can see their point, they get tons of very mixed quality olives and produce a reasonable olive oil for an economical price. Why change?
In frustration there are a few olive grove owners who have resorted to buying their own mobile olive mill, small, neat and made in Italy. It works for those who wish to have their own guaranteed organic oil; grown, harvested and bottled on their own property.
The reward of all those chilly early morning harvests in December and January is the sight of the first gush of gorgeous deep green oil flowing from the first pressing, one's very own extra virgin olive oil, hundreds of litres of it.
Cook with it, bake with it, drop it into the bath, make soap and lotions from it and most of all dip freshly made bread into a pool of oil, a little salt..........and why not some local jamon....heaven!
Please go to our cooking holiday blog for a few delicious recipes using olive oil.