As usual I'm behind schedule writing about the craziest period in our lives. We were really challenged this year. But we did it!
Every year same problem. This sweet and soft little olive is a true candy for olive flies. They start appearing around april when everybody tells us that is impossible.. We've been testing with a fellow farmer from Hawaii who appeared to have found a solution de-fertilizing fruit flies but ours weren't having it. Above all, Manzanilla matures too fast and with the extreme heat and no olive press open it was just standing on the side watching and waiting. Result is a Virgin sweet olive oil that locals here love, but we don't. We are considering getting these trees down and looking for some experts opinions on what is best to do next. Stay tuned for that.
Condeixa is full of great old trees and we have found a friendly neighbour with some giants we could pick, they were dry but further in pretty good condition. They are truly biological since nobody has touched them for at least 5 years. Boy did we learn from this experience. Trees were too high, the branches too dry, so besides olives we got a lot more stuff on the nets. Beautiful artisanal olive oil though, Virgin. With Galega we have difficulties understanding how we can't get them up to higher quality, especially since the logistic side (working with crates to transport and pressing within 24 hours is under control. It was picking in extreme heat 30 degrees so we were thinking this could have been the explanation of the results.
We are on fire
After Manzanilla and Galega we went for our own Galega, first year we had enough for a full press. fantastic oil it turned out, but only 75 liters. Off to Arbequina with a great start with returning annual Ladies night, when we harvest in the cool and dark while nibbling on some snacks and wine of course! Next day while picking Arbequina we saw smoke and the rest of this story can be read in the former blog. Due to fires we couldnt get to the press with the Arbequina and missed our slot to get the farm sorted after the smoke and fires. With the extreme heat this caused a minor sensorial defect in the first run. It takes a special noise to spot it, though... But extra sad for us since we broke our record in harvesting these tiny ones at last. 1260 kilos in a day! We did an awesome "groundblend from Picual and Arbequina" which turned Extra Virgin and Picual is never letting us down being very good as last year. Litte more bitter and little less sweet but making it more harmonious and intense.
Quinta da Melhora
Our farm started with a small plot of land and 300+ olive trees. With our passion and ambition this isn't enough to sell to all our fans and family (mostly family we believe ;-) ) so we expanded already a little but we don't have the land to really make a difference... but then we saw some groves not so far from us with perfect olive trees. After hangin a note on the gate showing our interest we met the lovely owner Teresa who liked the idea of collaborating. So we maintain and harvest and get the oils in return. Funniest thing: They planted what should have been Cobrançosa varieties but in the end the Mystery blend turns out to be 80% Verdeal in the mix. Besides that they have the most beautiful Galega trees of our area and we conquered the giants. Finally Coimbra area has some nice Portugese oils to present to the world!
Help, no storage tanks anymore!
And YUP with expanding comes challenges such as: where do we put it all? So we have new storage tanks and a filter & pump taking over part of our house, which is now converted to climate controlled rooms and packaging facilities. Let's say small farmers are getting bigger every year...
Over 12.500 kilos bringing in over 1700 liters. We need to thank all of our friends and family since without them we couldnt have done this.
With 3 Virgins and 4 Extra Virgins we can say it has been a good but rough year. Now we get ready for planting and cleaning the burned woods for further damage.