The olive harvest at Son Mesquidassa, Felanitx, has been brought forward by a fortnight. The earlier start than normal is on account of the impact of the storm at the end of August. Half of the olives were brought down, while the fruit that remained on the trees suffered.
To avoid major losses, the decision was taken to start harvesting earlier at what is the largest olive oil production facility in Majorca. The agronomist at Son Mesquidassa, Joan Simonet, says that forecasts in June were for a harvest of twelve to thirteen tonnes of olives per hectare - around a thousand tonnes in all. With the harvest having been cut by around a half, an anticipated 150 to 180 thousand litres of olive oil will not be achievable.
Simonet explains that they have acted quickly and have recovered as many olives of good quality as possible. However, as the olives are greener than usual, fewer litres of oil will be extracted; some ten per cent rather than the normal fifteen to sixteen per cent. Despite the lower production, the quality, he adds, will be higher.
Harvesting is done mechanically. Once the olives are collected, pre-processing begins. "We now to have to see what the level of acidity is and how it reacts. It is fortunate that we have a process which means that the olives pass from trees to the tank in less than an hour and a half. This improves the quality of oil a great deal."
Son Mesquidassa is registered with the Oli de Mallorca DO designation of origin, for which extra virgin oil is marketed under this mark. Not all production is for the DO, as Conservas Rosselló, the owners, also produce Oli Rosselló and Oli Balle for the hotel and restaurant sector and general consumers. The objective is always, stresses Simonet, to produce good quality oil.