Olive Oil Harvest - Part 1
Let's start with a bit of background info. The olive tree (Olea europaea) is an evergreen tree that belongs to the genus Olea. The oldest olive trees in Spain are believed to be about 2000 years old. They are located close to the Via Augusta (the Roman road that connected Rome with Cadiz). Today, there's hundreds of different cultivars (olive varieties), each with its own unique flavour, aroma and texture. Most are named after the place they originally come from. And these types can be divided into basically three kinds: olives grown exclusively for oil, those grown to be eaten as table olives, and those which can be used for both. At La Bonita we have a combination of Aloreña (the village of Álora can be seen from the farm), Hojiblanca, and Manzanilla. The trees are dotted around the farm, with some new trees having been planted down by the river where it gets colder in winter and so is an area unsuitable for avocados.
Olive trees are hardy. They need little water and so are ideally suited to southern Spain. They can also withstand scorching, direct sunlight. . We pick our olives beginning to mid November, when they start to fall off the tree. As you can see from the photo, some olives will be green and others a deep purple -- all are good for being made into oil! All our olives are used to make extra virgin olive oil. Fresh, high-quality extra virgin olive oil is delicious and one of the world's healthiest foods. It's full of antioxidants and phenolic compounds that are proven to help reduce and prevent diseases.