With such focus on our soil it is important to keep things in perspective. As responsible organic farmers we monitor the quality of our soils frequently for we know that this will inevitably influence the quality of our olives and extra virgin olive oil.
Producing the best quality extra virgin olive oil requires a holistic farming approach that depends on healthy soils. A healthy soil provides a healthy soil food web; leading to the retention and adequate supply of water and nutrients with all year ground cover. We cannot simply focus on the care of the individual olive tree but look beyond to the environment that can limit or increase its function. A symbiosis must be maintained between the two which is why such emphasis is placed on the quality of the soil to ensure ongoing improvement.
This is of paramount importance for what has been experienced during the previous seasons with excessive heat and a lack of rainfall. Fortunately our irrigation system compliments the holistic cycle kept our soils and olive crop in a healthy state. Drip irrigation is the most effective and economic system. Drip irrigation means that the tree is fed water through leaky valves or goteros- the rate of precipitation is accurately controlled so the trees water requirements can be met. This system therefore has minimal loss through evaporation. There is no other system that provides an economic water supply to trees with such ease. We use 4L/hour leaky valves spaced across the diameter of the tree-(distances will vary depending on its size and age) Duration and frequency depends on climatic conditions, age of trees and stage of maturity of the olive fruit.
Although we have survived a brutally dry summer we can see our farming method is effective due to the quality of fruit on our olive trees. There is a very good ratio of flesh to pit; once the fruit is pulped for oil we get the true flavour of the olive and not a woody taste which results from a greater pit/flesh ratio. This is why I would urge you to make sure that when you purchase olive oil it comes directly from the source- hopefully a reliable source that is traceable to be sure of the authenticity, quality and taste.