Flora y fauna

The olive tree of the Serra de Tramuntana

By 16 January, 2020 April 16th, 2020 No Comments

The olive grove is the most widespread and oldest crop in the Tramuntana mountains. It occupies 80% of the cultivated area while orange trees for example occupy only 5%.

According to historical data, it was first the Phoenicians and then the Greeks who introduced the olive tree like rain fed tree in the Iberian Peninsula, consequently also on the island
from Mallorca, and not the Arabs as many mistakenly indicated. The Arabs
they introduced new varieties of olives and for this they used the grafting method
to increase productivity and improve quality. Such was the importance of oil in the
XV and XVI century that some taxes could be paid with oil or even used as
currency to pay for wheat.

In the Sierra de Tramuntana two types of varieties predominate: the Majorcan olive, the which produces a large quantity and very good quality of oil … and the variety
“Sivillina” with less oil production, but excellent to eat once preserved in brine
for several months. Each adult olive tree produces between 15 and 45 kg of olives according to their health status and characteristics. Therefore, it is recommended every 3 or 4 years to prune the
Olive branches and leave the healthier and younger branches to increase their yield.
Olives are picked during the fall (from September to December) before
they fall to the ground for their own maturation. The olives are collected with
traditional means (e.g. with nets and poles) in smallholdings and through
mechanical systems (with nets and tractor) in the estates. The average yield of the
Majorcan olive oscillates around 20%. That means that for every liter of oil
is needed about 5 kg of olive approximately. Careful, do not confuse the green olive
with the black as another variety, since both are the same olive. The black olive
it is the mature state of the green olive. Fortunately there is still a long
Family tradition for hundreds of years, especially in the Sóller Valley, of picking the olives
during the cold autumn weekends to produce oil for your own consumption. From there comes its old name, Suliar, which for Arabs meant the port where oil is exported….

You could say that the olive tree of the Serra has maintained family traditions and has even modified the gastronomy and way of life of the Majorcans who live in the mountains.