History of the region
Our oil comes exclusively from fields in Bajo Aragon, where the origins of olive production can be traced back as far as Roman times. Some of the oldest millenary olive trees in Spain can be found in this region.
Bajo Aragon is one of the most favorable parts of the world for olive cultivation. A combination of climatic conditions and the unique characteristics of the Empeltre olive variety, almost exclusively cultivated in the area, produce an extremely high quality olive oil.
This region is characterized as being an arid and tough land with scarce and irregular rainfall, along with a dominant, strong northeasterly wind known as “Cierzo” or “North Wind”, which emphasizes the aridness of the region even more.
In such landscapes we find the village of Oliete, from the latin Olivatum which means olive grove or land of olive trees; the village which our family descends from. Despite the exceptional quality of the olive oil, the cultivation of olive groves has been steadily declining for many years due to its low profitability. Currently it has been calculated that there are some 100,000 uncultivated olive trees in Oliete.
The low profitability can be explained mainly due to three reasons:
- The hereditary tradition in this region of dividing the land amongst the children has meant that the pieces of land are very small farms and consequently expensive to cultivate.
- Many of the olive groves are not irrigated which reduces the productivity of the olive trees and leaves the crops in the hands of nature as to the rainfall in the region, which is usually very little.
- Finally the region has not developed an adequate commercialization process to promote this olive oil in the rest of Spain and internationally.
The low profitability can be reversed through hard work and Mis Raices is participating in this work to regenerate and promote the region and allow this hidden treasure to be discovered.
About 15 minutes drive away from Oliete, our largest family olive grove, called Las Albarizas,can be found. The word Albariza is associated with a white colored earth, which is compacted to form rough stones that allow the water from the short but intense rainfall in the region to remain in the subsoil for long periods of time, thus allowing the cultivation of the olive. Albarizas is the name of our company, chosen to honor our land.
It is in Las Albarizas where we have a small, cozy “mas”, the name given to the very small, basic farmhouse-like constructions in the fields that were used as a home during the harvest season in days gone by as there were no vehicles to take the workers back to the village. Our “mas” was constructed by our grandparents, Santiago and Maria, and nowadays we share it with our relatives who have fields in the same area. Today it is only used to cook lunches and store the farming equipment.