Our Estate - The finca de la Torta
The finca is situated in the south of Catalunya 3 kilometres from the village of Mas de Barberans.
It lies in a curve of the barranc de Lloret and extends up from the barranc to the level of the plain which runs from the mountains just behind the finca down to the coast. The Google Earth images below show the progression of the work we have been doing. The last image is the current Google Earth image which you can view in Google Earth with this link (Finca de la Torta). If you zoom out slightly from this view, you will notice the surrounding fincas all show bare soil under the trees due to the herbicides that the farmers use to clear the ground of weeds and grass.
The finca covers just over 24 acres and has about 950 olive trees. In 2012 we had pruned 560 trees which we collected olives from. In the oncoming years we will have finished pruning the trees on the upper slope which will give us around 850 trees to harvest.
When we purchased the finca, it was unworked and overgrown. The trees had grown excessively and the undergrowth was dense. Over the first couple of years we steadily cut back the sprouting growth under the trees and pruned the top branches to force new growth which would produce olives. Eventually after 3 years of hard pruning, the trees started to produce olives.
Buying a tractor allowed us to cut down the undergrowth with a chain flail, then plough and roll the ground between the trees. This meant that we could keep the weeds down without resorting to using herbicides.
It means a lot, lot more work, but is much better for the environment and our peace of mind. The bonus is the display of spring flowers we let grow each year and the honey from the beehives that are kept on our land.