The Story of a dream
One day, we realised that the oil mill was still there: silent, as though it were waiting, shut away in the large yard behind the hermitage, hidden among the building’s Roman capitals and Mudéjar tracework. We had been to Virgen del Ara so many times since we were children to worship and as part of family tradition, but we had never noticed the old mill.
Now that we are aware of its presence, we lift our gaze and realise that it forms an indelible part of the familiar landscape: the canopy of olive groves marching down the slopes, between copses of oak trees and thickets of brush, towards the place where the ash trees and poplars part to reveal the lazy progress of the tributaries that feed the River Ara.
These areas, which had experienced alternating fortunes over their long history, with times of prosperity followed by times of hardship, seemed to have taken a new opportunity to regenerate by looking to the past. And why wouldn’t they? Our imaginations took us back to images from another time, with groups of agricultural workers using poles, baskets and carts to bring in a limited but select yield. Select, because that is what the product was; and what it would continue to be.
Alas, the low level of profitability, the obsolescence of the production processes and a rather lazy approach to promotion meant that a very special product became a second-rate consumer good. It seemed like it was doomed to be forgotten.
However, the culture of fine dining has become increasingly widespread in recent decades, achieving levels of refinement that were previously thought impossible.
It is this culture that has restored olive oil to the same lofty position that wine has always managed to maintain in the Spanish imagination.
Consequently, we believed that the time was right. Why should our olive groves, our truly unique olives and their superb oil not be a part of this phenomenon? Perhaps the Virgen del Ara herself, who was so unknown, demanded greater awareness and wider commitment to the work that we had undertaken until then.
And so the old oil mill, which had stood there in silence, waiting, began to turn again. Mysteriously, the old quintal beam press, which everyone had forgotten about, also started to operate again.
We have no way of knowing what the oil from that time would be like. It is like the one that we offer today, the product of a unique business venture that we want to share with you.