I was walking through the countryside surrounded by olive trees, taking in their aroma and imagining how they grow, little by little, to produce the fruits that I enjoy so much. Then I started thinking about how little we know about the raw ingredients of a lot of the foods we eat. So I’ve decided to share with you a little about how olive trees grow, these trees that give us so much nourishment.
How do olive trees grow?
As you know, there are numerous varieties of olive tree in Spain, and each one grows at a different rate. There are olive trees that take three years to bear their first fruits, and others that need up to twelve years. So if you ever decide to grow an olive tree, the most important thing is to cultivate patience.
You should also keep in mind that not all olive trees can grow in the same type of soil or climate. That’s why, when growing olive trees, their different varieties and characteristics must be taken into account so that they grow in the best possible conditions.
Even so, on average, an olive tree can reach a height of over five feet after five years.
Top quality olive trees in Spain
The most abundant olive trees in Spain are those producing Picual olives (nearly 900,000 hectares), which start to give olives three years after being planted. The greater part of the trees yielding this variety are in Jaén, renowned for its olive oil production. It is very easy to grow these olive trees, which can bear colder climates and provide a high, consistent production.
The one thing that stands out from the oil obtained from Picual olives is the high oleic content and its stability.
Another characteristic olive tree in Spain is the Arbequina variety, well represented in Catalonia. There are currently over 70,000 hectares of this type of olive tree.
Olives of the Arbequina variety ripen early. Extra virgin olive oil made from this variety has a mild, sweet, delicate flavor.
Last of all we must speak of the Hojiblanca variety. Córdoba is the province with the highest number of hectares dedicated to these olive trees (ca. 265,000), but they are also found in Seville and Granada.
If the land where you live is arid, you will find it easy to cultivate this variety of olive tree, which is resistant to cold. Just as with Arbequina olives, the extra virgin olive oil from Hojiblanca olives is sweet in flavor.
I recommend that you try Carbonell Arbequina 100%, Carbonell Picual 100% and Carbonell Hojiblanca 100% extra virgin olive oils. Pair different dishes with them and savor their distinct flavors. And, if you wish to grow your own olive tree, remember before planting it that the variety of tree you choose will have its own needs.