When we first purchased our land, we were lucky to begin making helpful contacts. One of these told us that we one of our greatest assets here are our wild olive trees. Our land is bordered by around 50 enormous olives, but that’s not all. We have tiny olive trees growing..literally all over the land. Like weeds. We have to treat them like weeds, getting rid of hundreds of them…there are just so many. They also tend to grow larger and in more abundance, around other trees, like this almond. This tree is already old and struggling..it doesn’t need to be strangled by a hundred olive trees!
However, now that we know their value, we are making sure to keep as many as possible. In order to flourish, they need at least 6 metres of space between them, so massive thinning is essential.
So, why are they valuable? At first we were skeptical, these trees produce a tiny olive, surely oil can’t be produced from these! (I have got a photo somewhere of the actual olives, but I can’t find it!)
Well, it seems that recent research has shown that the health benefits of oil made from these tiny wild olives is greater even than that of traditional olive oil! So although more work is necessary to harvest them (these olives must be handpicked..they can’t be raked), it is well worth doing so. Especially as this oil fetches a high price. It also requires a special time of press.
We have so many, and it seems they are so valuable, that we are considering eventually changing our name from The Secret Garden to the Mallorquin name for wild olives – Los Ullastres. Just a thought though…