Table Olives are a mission!!

The Manzanilla olives that we harvested in March are at last ready for eating. We look with envy at our neighbouring fruit farms that harvest their crop and sell it immediately whilst we have to wait for eight months before we can start to sell our produce. Also we have the added complication in that if we don’t get the processing and fermentation process exactly right we end up either with foul tasting olives or olives that are too soft and squashy and that we cannot take to market.

Fortunately the ‘pickling’ process appeals to Walter’s fastidious side and for the last eight months he has religiously checked on his ‘babies’ in the olive store. Armed with his refractometer (to test the salinity of the pickling brine) and his ‘ph’ sticks (to test the acidity/alkalinity) he has nurtured them through their transformation from bitter tasting inedible ‘drupes’ (single stone fleshy fruit) into remarkably tasty processed green table olives. Although there have been times when even he thought that the lactic acid

fermentation process was out of control.

ph

olives

So now at last we are ready to allow our guests to sample the Manzanillas both in the whole form and as olive paste – we are still trying to find the correct term to describe our olive paste – a ‘blitzed mix of stone-less olives, garlic, lemon and herbs’ – others use the term ‘tapenade’ which should really contain anchovies and capers, or ‘pesto’ which should contain pine nuts and parmesan – but we would like the flavour of our Manzanillas to ‘speak’ for itself. Our brains are being tested but hopefully we will eventually improve upon Manzanilla Mash which appears to be the current favourite.

Our Mission olives that were harvested in April are almost ready, these black olives are still a little bitter but we think that within a few weeks will be ready for the tasting – and ‘mashing’.

olivepaste

 

The story of Rosalie the sheep

Part of the chattels of the purchase was that we inherited a donkey called Cesar and a sheep called Rosalie. However they are not what they appear to be. Originally there were two donkeys called Cesar and Rosalie but unfortunately Rosalie (the donkey) died leaving Cesar all alone and feeling lonesome. So to give him a chum to brighten up his loneliness they bought a ram (male sheep), but for continuity they decided to call the ram Rosalie. Whether this trans-gender naming has had an effect we are not quite sure – but certainly Rosalie does not appear to be very cheerful.

 

Perhaps another reason for Rosalie’s grumpy demeanour could be due to the fact that his woolly fleece had not been shorn and in the hot season it cannot be pleasant wearing a thick woolly coat. So we decided to give him a surprise and remove his many years of growth. Well as you may have gathered Rosalie does not like to be ‘interfered with’ so it took Ricardo and three of the estate workers supervised by Cade (the cameraman) to persuade him to lie down and submit to a de-fleecing. You can imagine that this did not go down too well – but it did get to a point where surrender seemed to be the best option.

 

And bravo! A new sheep appeared from underneath the woolly coat – so slim and handsome and not nearly half as grumpy as before – in fact I think we even saw a few jumps for joy – well a few jumps anyway.

Now what to do with the fleece? – There have been lots of suggestions – you may even see woolly jumpers and hats on sale when you next visit!

 rosalie1

rosalie2

rosalie3