Some years ago my sister came home and said do my father: “Hey dad, why don’t we convert the olive grove into organic production?”. My dad looked at her and replied with another question: why should we do that?”. And Claudia said something like this: “if we stop using chemicals to grow the olives it won’t take us too much work, and I’m sure a lot of people would appreciate it. Moreover, more and more people are looking for organic grown food. In the end all of us want a more sustainable and less manipulated environment.”
And this is when all started, back in 2006. The olives trees are located in Valongo dos Azeites, which in English means “Long Valley of the Olive Oil” – which better name could the village have?!? Valongo dos Azeites is located 14km south from S. João da Pesqueira, where we live. This is the place where our ancestors were based, several decades ago. Few hundred meters from the olive trees, we still have the house where our great-grand parents grew up. Valongo dos Azeites is a small village, with 227 inhabitants (2011), which embodies the word olive oil in its name. I’m sure this is not random, but actually because the village has extraordinary conditions to produce golden colored with amazing taste olive oil.
In total we have 25 hectares of olive trees and most of them are over 50 years old. As there was some land with no crops planted, in the last years my father decided to plant some more young olive trees. In total we have now over 4.000 olive trees, producing around 5.000 liters of olive oil.
We are very happy with the organic project. It is true that organic production consumes more time and resources as if cultivated in a conventional way, but in the end we maintain a diversity of weeds, insects and small animals that if we used herbicides would not survive.
Here is a post I made some years ago in case you want to know more about the harvest of the organic olives. This video shows you the harvesting machine.
Let us know if you feel as excited as we do about organic olive oil and share with us what you know about the second most important culture of the Douro valley in Portugal.
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