HOW WE WORK
The olive collection takes place in winter during the months of December to February. The first thing we do after the harvest is to fertilize 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 within the tree.
In the onset of spring we spray fungicidal and insecticide substances combined with nutrients (by foliar application), in order to prevent the trees from getting ill. Therefore more nutrients are absorbed in a better way by the leaves.
Around the month of April there are more and more sunny hours, so the olive flowers starts 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. In order to prevent this we dry these branches applying little amounts of herbicides around the external area of the trunk of the tree by the month of May.
After the summer, in the months of September to October we apply a second combined treatment, until we finally collect the olives in the months of November to January. The olives are freshly collected 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 very warm though, reaching average temperatures up to 40-45ºC on a daily basis, and minimum temperatures of 28ºC between the months of July and August.
Precipitations are more often in the months of winter due to the Atlantic influence from the West and normally during the months of 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 to be watered so very often 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 important months of the year in terms of 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 our trees are provided though with the necessary water and nutrients for the whole year by means of 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.
In 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. This will make each extra virgin olive oil Reinos de Taifas unique.
Some years ago we used to till the soil several times a year in order to pull up the weed and we ironed the soil. Nowadays we use a weed trimmer to root up the weed, and if the weed has grown too much we apply small amounts of herbicide. The new trend is to let the weed grow, so that it provides the soil with nutrients avoiding its erosion.
All the chemicals that we use in the production of olive oil have been approved for its use in olive oil production purposes at the European Union.
- Insecticides: Dimethoate
- Fungicides: copper calcium sulphate, Bordeaux mixture
- Ntrients: Iron, boron, magnesium, NPK, vegetal aminoacids
- Herbicides: Oxifluorfen, glyphosate
Once the oil is produced, 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 test is carried out following the process 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 – we make sure there are no traces of more than hundred elements. This process is carried out once a year.
- Heavy metals check-up – it was common to store the olive oil in metallic packages, which are likely to release heavy metals, thus we use stainless steel but nowadays this heavy-metals analysis is being applied too.