It has been a while since we last told you about our Sileo Extra Virgin Olive Oil. The truth is that at Son Alegre we produce more wine than olive oil and perhaps that is why it may seem to the discerning customer that our olive oil takes a back seat. But this is not the case. We are proud of our wine production, but we are also pleased to remind you that in 2004 we planted more than 1,000 olive trees of the Olea europaea subsp. europaea species, which produce olives of the Arbequina variety. As you may know, the Arbequina olive is considered one of the best in the world for its consistency and productivity, as well as for the quality of its oil.
At Son Alegre, we harvest our olives in mid to late October when the olives on the trees are of three different colours, green, purple and black. The three colours signify that not all of the olives are fully ripened – if they were, they would all be black. We have decided to let some olives not fully ripen. That way we can ensure a superior quality of olive oil combined with a better taste. If we were to wait any longer, chances would be that the olive fruit would be attacked by the Olive fruit fly (Bactrocera oleae), a serious pest in the cultivation of olives, and that would of course alter the taste of our oil drastically, unless we were to spray against the little insect. We will never spray. We are committed to Nature and to the wondrous ecosystem and biodiversity on our land that we have allowed to develop over the last seventeen years. We have not ploughed our olive orchard once since 2005; in fact we do not even enter our orchard all year long other than at harvest time. We do this mainly to leave the trees, their natural environment and our biological ecosystem as well as the prevailing, life sustaining biodiversity, completely undisturbed.
Talking about the Olive fruit fly you may be interested in the fact that at Son Alegre we leave the olives that fall to the ground, be that due to the wind, rain, a storm or the fruit fly, on the ground for good. We do not gather the fallen olives at the time of the harvest to perhaps increase the volume of our crop. No. At Son Alegre quality comes first, and what has touched the ground stays on the ground.
Actually, not quite. Once we have finished our olive fruit gathering and set off to the Tafona oil mill in Sóller, we let our pigs in to the olive orchards. The pigs love our olives; they know a thing or two about quality and good taste. They don’t mind the olive fly among the olives they devour. Just think; if we didn’t let the pigs in, the olive fruit fly would prosper and breed and thus reappear the following year and with a vengeance. Our friends the pigs help us prevent a major onslaught of fruit flies in a much more natural and organic way than any other means that we know of. How’s that for organic farming?
And, by the way, as the pigs forage for olives on the ground, they inadvertently rummage through the soil, thus giving a minuscule ploughing to the top layer of our soil and helping to aerate the soil, particularly in the immediate vicinity of our olive trees. Perhaps the pigs all were organic farmers in their former lives. Who knows.
Currently, there are 89 Virgin Olive Oils labelled with the ‘d’O‘ seal, the Oli de Mallorca Denomination of Origin. This certificate was created in 2002 in accordance with European Union regulations, confirming that the thus marked and sealed oil is an agricultural product originating from a clearly defined location whose quality and characteristics are principally due to the geographical environment in which it is produced by natural factors and human activity.
Of the 89 Mallorcan Virgin Olive Oils, only twelve are grown and produced under 100% organic conditions as controlled and certified by the CBPAE (Consell Balear de la Producció Agrària Ecològica), without the use of any pesticides, insecticides, chemical substances or inorganic fertilisers. Sileo oli d’oliva verge extra from Son Alegre is one of these few Mallorcan quality olive oils and it is 100% organic. Naturally, it is also 100% vegan.
Due to favourable climatic conditions in 2021, a record 18,000 kg of olives were harvested at Son Alegre’s estate, making it the best harvest by volume in 14 years. This amount resulted in 1,890 litres of olive oil (10.5 kg of olives were needed this year to produce one litre of our Sileo olive oil). For added stability we once again included a small amount of wild olives (Olea oleaster) at a ratio of no more than 2%, giving our oil a subtle tang and a truly luscious fragrance.
This year’s oil has again been pressed at the Cooperativa Agrícola de Sant Bartomeu in Sóller where it is resting now to allow it time to settle for about two more months. In February, we shall proceed with the bottling. Before bottling, our olive oil is tested by an ENAC laboratory (Entidad Nacional de Acreditación). Our 2021 Sileo olive oil was rated with a degree of acidity of 0.2%, the lowest we have ever had. This oil will be available early next year in Sileo’s traditional 500 ml dark green glass bottles, but also in 250 ml tin cans, giving you more choice and also, offering protection for those of our customers who would wish to put their olive oil purchase into a suitcase on their way back home.
Try some Sileo Extra Virgin Olive Oil if you have a chance. You will like it. It is a perfect gift from Nature.