Clay powder to produce organic olive oil

Clay powder to produce organic olive oil

A lot of producers have very few olives this season, the second bad year in a row which will make life very hard for some, and we heard that this is probably due to two or three weeks of very hot weather during the flowering period which roasted the small olive flowers before they could set to fruit. And it’s true we have very few olives on our Aglandau trees, but fortunately different varieties flower at different times and later at higher altitude (we are at 300 metres ASL), and some of our trees are protected by the cliffs from the drying Mistral wind. So in fact it looks like we may have a decent harvest with our Bouteillans, Cayet Roux and Brun varieties, which we are busy protecting with an organic treatment of clay powder which distracts the olive fruit fly and stops her laying eggs in the fruit,  (see photos), which of course allows us to produce organic olive oil.                       Before the treatment of clay powder…           After the treatment…           And more in the area we call the Feu Bas…...
Beekeeping! Checking for new queens…

Beekeeping! Checking for new queens…

Spring is a fantastic time of year, even though it is a little cooler than normal and the bees are frantically busy collecting pollen. Gerry felt she had to see what was happening in the hives, and found the Provençal bees, so-called because they are quite mild and laid back, had pretty much filled all but one frame in their hive, and the Formula One bees, so-called because they are very energetic and rather aggressive, had filled everything. She put some more half frames on top of the Formula Ones and stepped back! She also found that the frames were temptingly heavy with...
Spring flowers around Provençal cabanon

Spring flowers around Provençal cabanon

After a really grim winter when it rained like in Wales all December, January and February, this spring is turning out to be lovely weather, not as warm as it could be but it’s wonderfully sunny and clear. Here the purple flowers are on the Judas Tree (Cercis Siliquastrum). Bees love these...
Olive Oil Tasting at Concours in the Var

Olive Oil Tasting at Concours in the Var

After several years of training at “Degustation” sessions with the Var olive growers association, we were invited to be part of the Olive Oil tasting juries at two recent Concours, at Draguingan, which Gerry went to last month, and at the annual Brignoles Agricultural Fair, which Mark went to last week. This was a first time for us both, and, frankly, we were worried we knew enough! Actually, it was most enjoyable, we acquitted ourselves with élan (!), there was lots of chat about olives, we knew several people and a long morning’s tasting ended, as always at such venues in France, with a quite decent lunch! Next year, we shall present some of our own oil to these Concours in the Var. In the photo are the dark brown sample bottles from each olive oil producer, the blue flasks in which each oil is put to warm up, the little white spoons for the tastings, the white cups for spitting into (!), and small bits of bread and green apple to eat between...

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