The Art of Producing High Quality Olive Oil
Olive oil tasting can be as intense and serious as wine tasting. Colour, texture, smell, viscosity, clarity and much more determine the quality level of extra virgin olive oil.
In order to learn the necessary techniques to produce such high-quality olive oil, cooperative members and farmers from various south Lebanese municipalities came to take part in a week-long course focusing on improved olive growing and agricultural practices.
By way of UNIFIL and its Spanish Contingent, the Almazara program brought Spanish experts from the Universities of Extremadura and Zaragoza to run several days of theoretical and practical workshops. The courses focused on ecological and renewable techniques for managing and improving the growth and maintenance of olive trees and groves.
Analyzing and understanding the regional soil characteristics and the appropriate fertilization was discussed in great detail during the theoretical sessions. The practical sessions took the participants to various olive groves where traditional and ecological pruning techniques were demonstrated by the Spanish experts. The right technique and amount of pruning is crucial in creating the necessary growth and ventilation within the branches of the olive trees so that healthier and higher-yield fruits can be produced.
A stronger, richer and healthier olive fruit will naturally lead to a higher-quality olive oil. But how the oil is extracted is key in the quest for great taste and quality. That’s when the olive oil tasting demonstrated differing characteristics of various oils, leading to which practical techniques help in obtaining a higher-grade oil.
The Almazara program, started in 2018, aims at assessing the local needs in agriculture to help improve production techniques in the area and support the local economy. Through an agreement between Lebanon’s Ministry of Defense, Ministry of Agriculture and various Spanish universities, similar programs are planned for the coming years