The baby olive trees that were planted in 2008 have grown into confident looking young trees with only a bit of pruning and hand watering along the way. So far they have survived multiple late frosts, long drier periods and a few pests here and there – pretty resilient plants.
Spring is here once again, the grass is green and the olive trees have started sending out new shoots. We are doing some basic pruning to tailor the growth upwards and then outwards. Andrew is here helping the team and getting some experience out in the field.
Heading out into the fields with a long day ahead, 1400 trees to plant. We start about 7am, then take a break from the midday heat before returning to plant again about 4pm. Each tree requires a lot of time first the soil in the hole that was drilled last winter must be broken up and water added, then new compost mixed in – of course Claudio and Miguel do this in record time – the rest of us not even attempting to keep up with them!
Next, one of us comes along and mixes in a good dose of compost and water at the surface so the tree is happy in its new home. When the tree is comfortably situated we give it a stake to climb up and cover it with a protector so the rabbits dont gnaw away at the baby bark. Finally, just to make sure the tree has everything it needs, we give it a nice feeding of water deep under the roots.
The end of a long and rewarding days work we leave the trees to bathe in the cool evening air!
We have 8300 young olive trees made up of a combination of three different varieties: Frantoio, Leccino and Coratina, all certified organic by the IMO and all dry farmed so they produce small but flavourful fruits. Each olive is harvested by hand and processed on the farm which is all part of our simple philosophy – do not add anything synthetic and honour the trees. It takes time but each tree has a life of its own and we learn more each year about the workings of nature and the trees. This olive oil is our first offering, the authenticity of each tree’s upbringing shines through in this oil’s rustic flavours. This year was the first year we bottled some of our olive oil and we have savoured every drop, it is full of subtle flavours and has a buttery smooth texture.
Whilst wandering through the fields and weaving my way through the olive trees I began to see the olive farm from the perspective of the trees. Each tree has an expansive view of the surroundings. In four directions your eye is lead down the long alleys between the regularly spaced rows of trees. I tried to capture the view from one tree with these 3 images above, but I think it is best if you visit Fundo Meza to see for yourself!