‘It giet oan’ are world famous Frisian words in Holland announcing a 200km ice skating tour and getting everyone nervous. Well, the same excitement happens here when the local Cooperativo anounces that they will start running the olive mill. That is what happened this week and everyone is making his equipment ready and chose the right moment when to pick their olives. Not too early because the oil percentage in the olives will be too low, not too late because the majority of the fruits might be lying below the trees. The soil should not be too wet in order for the trucks to be able to get on to the land (and picking in the rain is no fun at all of course). Around Alcalá del Valle a lot of the olives are owned by small farmers, or people that have some trees on the side. This means that they cannot afford any machinery to pick the fruit. Economically speaking it doesn’t make much sense to grow olives on a small scale, but as the people have the terrain, the olive trees and not much else to do in this economic situation every extra EUR that comes in is welcome. Anyhow, we will soon be joining the olive pickers again and help out Angeles and Antionio.
Background info. The Denomination of Origin is a regulated and controlled qualification. Each DoO has a council that is responsible for controlling the characteristics, as well as the authenticity of the products protected by this denomination. In the Alcalá area some of the oils qualify for the DoO Sierra de Cadiz. The olives grown over here to produce the extra virgin olive oil come from the varieties Lechin, Manzanilla, Verdial, Hojiblanca, Picual, Almeña de Montilla and Arbequina. Made from unripe or ripe olives the experts tell us the tast is fruity, with moderate to intense aroma and taste of wild fruits, slightly bitter and spicy.
Spain with over 320 million olive trees is the number one producer of olive oil at almost 40% of world production, with 75% of that coming from Andalusia. Italians who consume almost 10 liters of olive oil per person per year do not produce enough oil for their domestic consumption, yet they are one of the largest exporters of olive oil in the world. Much of their oil is imported, bottled and exported as an Italian product. Spain is their major supplier.
See also http://www.oliveoiltimes.com/