All posts, Órgiva and environs, Nature, walks and wildlife

Shaking, pruning and burning

Like rats and ridiculous burgers in London, you’re never far away from an olive tree In Andalucia. For several weeks, the familiar sound of tapping could be heard as workers remove olives from the trees. Some farmers use noisy, vibrating machines to dislodge them. Large black nets are placed underneath to catch the olives.

We’ve heard a farmer could once secure around €1 a kilo, but it’s way under half that nowadays. It looks hard, certainly laborious, work. The olives are bagged up and taken to an almazara (mill) where they are separated from the crud before being weighed and then pressed.

Until we learn more about the process – and perhaps visit a mill ourselves – we’ll leave it at that. We do know that it takes about 4-5kg of olives to produce one litre of oil, and that Spain is the largest producer in the world (44%), followed by Italy (25%).

People seem as busy as ever; clearing their land of leaves and wood, pruning, mending fences (the winds are fierce at the moment) and planting new crops.

Another common sight at this time of year is the burning of olive branches. The photograph below, taken on a rare dull day, was taken just outside Órgiva. As mentioned in a previous post, the smoke from these fires can linger all day.

The fabulous Notes on a Spanish Valley blog regularly posts about living in the countryside and have much more ‘hands on’ experience of trees and plants, spring water and nature generally. The recipes are mouthwatering too.

Burning olive branches

Related posts:

You look great for your age…olive tree

Quiet at the back! – today’s chemistry lesson

Smoke got in our eyes

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About con jamón spain

All about Granada, Órgiva, La Alpujarras, Las Alpujarras, Andalucia, Spain – tapas, history, local guides and more.


3 thoughts on “Shaking, pruning and burning

  1. If you’re still there next xmas, join in with some picking. There was lots going on up to new year, when the season pretty much ends. To do it correctly, to achieve virgin oil, is to pick by hand (no machines) and get it to the mill in the shortest time possible. Muy bueno!

    Posted by Dead Woman Walks | February 1, 2014, 9:44 pm
  2. I read once that General Franco had thousands of acres of olive trees destroyed because he considered them to be a peasant crop and he wanted to replace it with cereal. After his death they all had to be replaced.

    Posted by Andrew Petcher | January 29, 2014, 4:35 pm
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