We gathered  little later than usual this year – about half the trees were producing following the odd weather – but we harvested sufficient for 72 litres of extra virgin – a 80/20 mix of Manzanilla and Blanqueta olives. The oil smooth, tasty and easily enough for us and our friends this coming year.

We were ably helped in the field by visitors from England, Jane Sergeant, Joan Scot, Jonathan David Simons, Mary Costello, Tim Edwards, Jackie Story – and from New York, Rabab Fayad and Michael Kaftner.  We enjoyed tasting some other local oils. In making the judgement, ignore the colour or clarity of the oil (both irrelevant) but savour the taste and gentle sensation at the back of the throat you experience from a good extra virgin oil.  One oil we sampled was from the  ‘Señorios de Relleu’  (https://www.senoriosderelleu.com/) whose groves are spread around Masía de Teuladi on the opposite side of the ravine from us. They have been winning some international awards for the quality of their oil recently so we are in good company. So a reasonable  harvest – but we hope for 100 litres plus next year. We gained 200 litres plus in past years.

 

The first two weeks in February are a magic time in the valley — the almond blossom is out. A hundred years ago there would twice as many trees at least, the almonds going to the nearby Jijona Turrón factories, but there are still thousands of trees left – lining the bancales like white ghosts. Jijona buys its almonds from California now, but there’s still a market through the local co-operative. Now the groves are full of photographers, we gather almonds in August.

November is a month of changes. We still have warm summer days extending into December but mixed with sudden squalls and storms – this year a good deal of rain, much more than normal. One result, a startling display of wild flowers in our Olive grove: mauve Moricandia or Purple cabbage (which is in flower every month of the year — in Spanish ‘Collejón’, White rocket, Fagonia,  Lobularia – in Spanish: Mastuerzo blanca, and yellow Erysimum. The rocket and Moricandia turn whole bancals mauve or white.

Valero – Olive Grove