HOW WE WORK
The olive oil cycle
The olive cycle lasts for a complete year. That means that we only produce olive oil once a year. Before that moment there is a whole year of hard work needed to obtain this precious EVOO (Extra Virgin Olive Oil).
Around February the cycle starts again. First, we fertilise the soil to enrich it with nutrients. Afterwards, we prune the trees. That happens every other year. Is done to get rid of the old branches that may impede the nutrients to get to other parts of the tree.
In the onset of spring, we spray fungicidal and insecticide substances combined with nutrients. We apply this treatment to the leaves (by a foliar application) to prevent attacks from bacteria, insects or parasites. The aim is also to cover deficiencies of the soil and to replace the nutrients that the olive tree used already, so it doesn´t run out.
In April there are more light hours, so the olive flowers start to blossom and will develop the olive fruit. The olive tree branches from the base of the trunk and these branches absorb the nutrients from the rest of the plant. To prevent this, we dry these branches applying little amounts of herbicides around the external area of the trunk of the tree by May.
Between September and October, we apply a second combined treatment. We collect the olives from November to January, when the fruits are optimally ripe. The olives are freshly harvested and milled on the same day, and the Extra Virgin Olive Oil obtained stored in optimal conditions so that the final consumer can enjoy a premium product, the Green Gold.Back to top
In Southern Spain, the weather changes along the year. Winters are soft, although there might be some frost every once in a while due to the closeness of the sea.
Summers are hot, especially in Córdoba. We can reach temperatures up to 40-45ºC on a daily basis, and minimum temperatures of 28ºC between July and August.
Precipitations are more often in the months of winter, between December and February. After these months a period of drought lasts until the end of the summer. Even though the olive tree does not need so much water as other plants, the long periods of drought may affect the olive growth in a way.
Water becomes vital in the most critical months of the year regarding productivity (from April to May and October to November). Some of the agriculture lands have access to irrigation (watered crops) through rivers or underground streams, so these can be used to solve the problem of lack of rain.
It is worth mentioning that we provide our trees with the necessary water and nutrients for the whole year using wells, water pumps and trickle irrigation when possible.
Furthermore, we till the land causing the raising of the dust. Dust covers the trees and keeps them from losing water. That is another way of hydrating the trees with no water. Besides, when tilling the land, you repair soil cracks caused by the drought which avoids water evaporation. This technique can only be applied temporarily. In times of severe drought, the trees can suffer and compromise the production.
At Reinos de Taifas we have both irrigation and dry crops, which makes our olive oil naturally different according to how the weather has been throughout that year of production. That means there are not two olive oil batches that are the same. Each extra virgin olive oil Reinos de Taifas is by definition unique.
In the old years, it was common to till the soil several times a year to pull up the weed, and we ironed the earth. Nowadays we use a weed trimmer to root up the grass. If the grass has grown too much, we may apply small amounts of herbicide. The new trend is to let the grass grow because it provides the soil with nutrients and avoids its erosion.
We exclusively use chemical products approved by the European Union for its use in olive oil farming. We aim to use the smallest amounts of chemicals in our produce. These are the products we use for the production of olive oil:
- Insecticides: Dimethoate
- Fungicides: copper calcium sulphate, Bordeaux mixture
- Nutrients: Iron, boron, magnesium, NPK, vegetal amino acids
- Herbicides: Oxyfluorfen, glyphosate
After obtaining the precious olive oil, we carry out several tests. We check that there are no remains of none of the products used throughout the process of production. For each olive oil batch, a single analysis is carried out to guarantee that:
- Tasting – to check that the olive oil obtained is Extra-Virgin
- Packaging – the oil is tested after some time stored in the package
- Multi residues check-up – to make sure there are no traces of more than a hundred elements. This process is carried out once a year.
- Heavy metals check-up – many years ago it was common to store the olive oil in metallic packages, which were likely to release heavy metals. We use stainless steel nowadays, but this heavy-metals analysis still applies by law.