Granada Olive grove
The Granada olive tree, engine of our life and economy
A little history
PART I: FROM PREHISTORY TO THE ROMAN EMPIRE
It is an oily tree native to the Middle East, known for more than 6,000 years, with a crooked trunk, a wide and branchy crown.
Certain historians indicate that the olive tree It comes from Persia, others from the Nile Valley and others indicate that it is native to the Jordan Valley. However, most believe that it comes from ancient Mesopotamia, a place from which it expanded to the rest of the countries.
Its cultivation for obtaining olive oil It begins in the Palaeolithic and Neolithic times (5,000 to 3,500 BC) in Crete, although the first documents written on the oil are constituted by the Minoan tablets, which constitute the greatest archaeological testimony of the importance of olive oil in the court of King Minos for the Cretan economy 2,500 years BC
In Egypt, for more than 5,000 years, olive oil was already used to illuminate temples, being the first civilization that practiced the extraction of the oil by natural mechanical procedures, the same on which the current production is based. In the kitchen even then it was used to dress lettuce.
The administration of scented oil baths was also frequent and the imposition on mummies, between the years 980 and 715 BC, of crowns made of olive branches, these ornaments being found in Pharaonic tombs. The olive tree penetrated and spread through Europe from East to West, with plantations dating from very old dates in Pontus, Mytilene and Armenia.
From the 16th century BC, the Phoenicians spread the olive tree on the Greek islands and, in the XIV to XI centuries BC, on the Hellenic Peninsula.
The Greeks are in charge of introducing olive cultivation in Italy, where it was easily adapted. Thus, since the 6th century BC, it has spread throughout the Mediterranean basin, passing to Tripoli and Tunis, to the island of Sicily and, from there, to southern Italy.
PART II : THE OLIVE TREE IN SPAIN
In the Iberian Peninsula, the existence of the olive tree has been dated from prehistoric times, since olive bones have been found in Neolithic sites by El Garcel. During Roman rule, Hispania already had a considerable number of olive trees bearing fruit.
In Roman times, oil from Hispania was highly esteemed. To encourage the important oil transactions that were taking place, the emperors abolished all public tributes to those who engaged in the private oil trade.
The cultivation in Spain was seen notably increased, especially in the Guadalquivir valley, during the eight centuries of Hispano-Arab civilization. The Arabs introduced their varieties to the south of Spain and influenced the spread of the crop to the point that the Castilian words for olive, oil or wild olive have Arabic roots; for example, the Spanish word “oil” comes from the Arabic “al-zait” which means “olive juice.
At the time of the Catholic Monarchs, the “Gazpacho” with oil and vinegar was already a basic part of the diet of Extremadura and Andalusia. With the Discovery (1492), Spain brought the olive tree to America. It was introduced mainly throughout the 16th and 17th centuries in Peru, Chile, Argentina and Mexico. Today it can be found in California and in different parts of South America.
In Spain it is grown especially in the Mediterranean basin and in regions with a mild climate. Currently, 95% of the world’s cultivated land is in the Mediterranean area.
Currently, the country that has the most olive trees is Spain (more than 300 million olive trees), followed at a great distance by Greece and Italy and a little further behind are Tunisia, Turkey, and Syria.
Spain is the first country in the ranking of world olive oil production, with an average annual production of more than 1,000,000 tons, reaching 1,537,000 in the 2013-2014 campaign. It is also the world’s leading exporting country.
At the national level, the largest volume of olive oil production is found in the Andalusia region (Approx. 80 %), followed by Castilla la Mancha (6-7%), Extremadura (5%) and Catalonia (4%), with the rest (4%) mainly made up of the Valencian Community and Aragon.
PART III: THE OLIVE TREE IN GRANADA
Granada is the third largest producer of olive oil nationally and worldwide with more than 30,000 farmers and 184,527 hectares of olive grove, olive growing being a sector of enormous economic and social importance since in the producing regions, the traditional olive grove generates more than 30% of rural employment. The province of Granada has more than 186,000 hectares dedicated to olive groves, with 24 million olive trees.
This campaign the province of Granada has obtained a production of 100 million kilos of oil, a sum lower than the average for the last five years, which will be compensated by the high quality of the product, which will also allow a higher sale price than in previous years.
Cooperatives and oil mills.
Cooperatives and oil mills represent the majority of the provincial olive sector in the province of Granada. The Agro-alimentary Cooperatives federation works with 49 associated olive cooperatives, which have 24,000 olive growers throughout the province, which produce around 300 million kilos of olives each season, with an annual turnover of more than 200 million euros. (The turnover of the previous campaign was 232 million euros).
The industrial oil mills of the province represented by the Spanish Federation of Olive Oil Manufacturers suppose 60% in number and 40% in production.
Granada olive oil is competitive. In recent years, producers are immersed in innovative projects, aimed at promoting the quality of Granada oils, exceptional for health.
The fruit of this work is the growing presence on the international scene, thanks to the good work of the producers in quality and promotion, in addition to the support of the two denominations of origin of the province: Poniente de Granada and Montes de Granada.
PART IV: CHARACTERISTICS OF THE OLIVE TREE
The olive tree (European olea l) is a tree that belongs to the botanical family Oleaceae, and within that family is the only species with edible fruit. Its main characteristics are:
- Its leaves are dark green on the upper side, with a characteristic shine due to the existence of a thick cuticle and whitish on the underside, simple, lanceolate in shape and entire edges . It is an evergreen tree and the leaves usually live two or three years. The flower is small.
- The trunk is thick and its bark greyish.
- The fruit is the olive, a small ovoid drupe with a very bitter taste, yellowish green color, oily pulp a Once it has reached maturity and with a bone that encloses the seed.
- The olive tree branches low and its branches tend to disperse. It requires a lot of sun and shuns humidity. The soil must be deep but dry.
- It is a hundred-year-old tree. Production begins in the eighth or ninth year and increases with increasing age until reaching 35 or 40 years. Their productivity stabilizes between 65 and 80 years and from that age the yields decrease.
- They are slow-growing trees, but they have a great quality: carefully digging and packing without damaging their roots, they can be moved whatever your age; in fact, there are companies dedicated to the sale of adult olive trees for decoration.
- It reaches a height of 20 to 25 meters in adulthood and with favorable conditions, and a diameter of 8 to 10 meters. However, the usual thing is that a pruning is practiced every two or three years, keeping it between 4 and 8 meters in height.
- The olive wood is very hard but easy to polish and ideal for carving Utensils. It is definitely a tree that combines elegance with robustness.
- Regarding the fruit, it is worth mentioning that the olives used for obtaining oil are harvested ripe (Normally from the end of December to the middle of February, depending on the area), and those intended for half-ripe consumption (late November and early December).
PART V: COSMETICS
Olive Oil was essential for the manufacture of perfumed ointments (which were so successful in Classical Rome, as it used to be in all ancient Mediterranean civilizations). The precious essences were preserved in suitable ointments, with the most varied shapes, of painted glass.
Virgin olive oils applied to cosmetics, being natural , without chemical treatments or additives, they provide more beneficial compounds for the body. They preserve natural antioxidants, vitamins and other elements with a minority presence, since practically all olive oils are made up of fatty acids, predominantly oleic acid. This represents more than two thirds of the total content of olive oil; These fatty acids help to maintain the hydration of the skin and favor the conservation of the cell membrane.
PART VI: HEALTH
New Studies confirm the multiple benefits that the consumption of virgin olive oil provides to health.
The consumption of 25 grams of virgin olive oil per day (about two tablespoons) provides 50 percent of the recommended amount of vitamin E for men and 62.5 percent for women. This is one of the main conclusions of a study directed by José Mataix Verdú, Professor of Physiology at the University of Granada, and which has had the collaboration of more than 30 specialists from around the world.
Apart of its contribution of vitamin E, virgin olive oil has numerous beneficial properties for our body. In short, among its nutritional values the following stand out:
- Circulatory system: Helps prevent arteriosclerosis and heart conditions, mainly myocardial infarction, angina pectoris and cerebral thrombosis. It reduces total cholesterol and LDL (bad) cholesterol, blood pressure, platelet aggregation, and blood clotting. On the other hand, it increases HDL (good) cholesterol.
- Anticancer: Especially against breast cancer, although it also protects against others.
- Digestive system: Improves the functioning of the stomach, liver, pancreas and intestine. It turns out to be a natural remedy against ulcers; reduces gastric acidity and turns out to be an anti-inflammatory.
- Endocrine system: Improves metabolic functions.
- Bone system: Stimulates growth and favors calcium absorption and mineralization. </ li>
- Skin: Protective and tonic effect of the epidermis.
- Pediatrics: Recommended for infant feeding due to the type of unsaturated fats it contains.
- Geriatrics: Beneficial for elderly for its antioxidant properties. Avoid neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer’s.
- Vitamin contribution: Rich in vitamin A (favors the body’s defenses), D (anti-rachitic), E (anti-sterility), F, K (anti-hemorrhagic).
Faced with so many advantages, olive oil does not present any disadvantage. Although taken in large quantities it can make you fat, Dr. Mataix notes that he knows of “no negative effects” in olive oil.