HOW WE WORK
The olive collection takes place in winter from December to February. The first thing we do after the harvest is to fertilise the soil to enrich it with nutrients. Afterwards, we prune the trees on alternating years so that we get rid of old branches that may impede the nutrients to expand throughout the tree.
In the onset of spring, we spray fungicidal and insecticide substances combined with nutrients (by a foliar application), to prevent the trees from getting ill. Therefore more nutrients are absorbed in a better way by the leaves.
Around April there are more and more sunny hours, so the olive flowers start to blossom and will develop the olive fruit. As the olive tree branches from the base of the trunk, 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.
After the summer, in September to October, we apply a second combined treatment, until we finally collect the olives in November to January. The olives are freshly harvested and milled on the same day and stored in optimal conditions so that the final consumer can enjoy a premium product.
In Southern Spain, especially in Córdoba, the weather is continental and warm, although it has some Atlantic influence. Winters are soft, although there might be some frost every once in a while due to the closeness of the sea.
Summers are hot though, reaching average 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 due to the Atlantic influence from the West and generally during December to 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.
For this reason, water becomes vital throughout the most critical months of the year regarding productivity (from April to May and October to November). The good thing is that in this area of Spain there are lands with 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.
Furthermore, we till the land causing the raising of the dust, which covers the trees and keeps them from losing water. So, we could say this is another way of watering the trees. Besides, when tilling the land, the soil cracks caused by the drought may be repaired avoiding water evaporation. This technique can only be applied in times of severe drought though.
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 will make each extra virgin olive oil Reinos de Taifas 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, and if the grass has grown too much, we apply small amounts of herbicide. The new trend is to let the grass grow so that it provides the soil with nutrients avoiding its erosion.
We exclusively use chemical products approved by the European Union for its use in olive oil farming. We aim to use small 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, several tests are carried out to check that there are no remains of none of the products used throughout the process of production. For each batch, a single analysis is carried out following the procedure below:
- Tasting – checking 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. Thus we use stainless steel nowadays this heavy-metals analysis is still applied.