Andalucia Diary – Seasonal Travel Notes

Guaro´s Liquid Gold

This week is a short week, with two bank holidays – Wednesday and Friday. Many people will be taking Thursday off too, to "bridge" the days (hence the name "puente" for these public holidays).  So basically, all this week´s business needs to be done in the first three days of the week.
Despite this, I decided to escape this afternoon and check on the little house in Guaro. The past few weeks have given us some lovely clear days and today was no exception. So at 5pm, I got in the car and took the 30 minute drive up through the Sierra Blanca mountains towards Guaro. I noticed just how green everything is – this time, with rain and mild temperatures gives us a second Spring, with lush green grass, verdent trees and autumn flowers. Sometimes the countryside here drives me crazy, with the constant threat of more construction, the fly-tipping and the general lack of environmental awareness – but today I could not help see just how beautiful it looked.
Once in Guaro, I saw the place was busy with the olive harvest. Molino de Guaro is the cooperative mill in the village where all the small land owners bring their crops for pressing together.  First nets are laid around the twisted, aged olive trees, that are then beaten with sticks or shaken with the mechanical arm of a JCB type truck.  Once collected the old men in their tiny "tractors" powered by little more than a lawn mower engine struggle up the steep lane towards the mill. Imagen_012_edited
Here the industry is not really sophisticated, as it is in other parts of Andalucia. Very generally speaking, Malaga province olive sector is in decline as new home construction and tourism eclipses the modest income from olives.  Much like the land sold to us to build our house in Guaro, trees are now left forgotton, fruit ripening in the autumn sun only to fall to the ground or be destroyed when the cold weather hits. However Andalucia is still a profitable producer, with Jaen province dominating the sector. With around 5 million acres of olive trees under cultivation, (over 2 million hectares) Spain is still very much the number one producer in  the world. Although Spaniards use olive oil for practically everything, there is still a surplus most years. So oil from non certified production areas is exported to countries like Italy
where it is used to bulk up its products, It is blended and repackaged as "Italian" for export once again.. Italy is a more fashionable
gourmet brand than Spain, and Italy does not produce enough to meet its demand for UK supermarkets! I have to say though that I have really developed a taste for the low acidity, extra virgin Spanish olive oil – each guest in the house gets a small bottle of Molino de Guaro oil as a welcome gift (not sure how people will get it home now with the airline restrictions!).

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Andrew ForbesTravel & Lifestyle Marketing Communications Consultant | Travel Editor Web: Twitter : @andrewaforbes Instagram @andrewaforbes and @luxurynavigatorView all posts by Andrew Forbes »