Our Olive Groves - The finca de la Torta
The finca is in the south of Catalunya, 3 kilometres from where we live in 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 history images show the progression of the work we have been doing. "Finca de la Torta".
The finca covers just over 24 acres and has about 1,000 olive trees.
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.
By 2012 we had pruned 560 trees, from which we collected olives. We have now (2014 )finished pruning the trees on the upper slope which will give us around 850 trees to harvest, although they will take another couple of years to be properly productive.
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 when they are kept on our land.
Martin & Penelope Hale
Our Olive Oil