Manuel Fernández Fuentes
Oil mill master of the cooperative associated Agrícola de El Rubio (Seville).
Jesús Ramos Jiménez, oil master mill cooperative associated Agrícola de El Rubio.
Just with the completion of a training cycle of oil production and extraction and practices in another associated mill, he had the opportunity to start his professional activity as a miller in the associated cooperative of El Rubio in the campaign 2004/05. That campaign was special because all his colleagues were new. Jesús recalls that “although they could not count on the support of the experience of old technicians, we made up for it with a lot of enthusiasm and commitment. It was hard, but together we set the new production project in motion”.
He considers training to be key to this project. He recognizes that “although experience is important, it is essential to be up to date with the latest developments; in addition, Oleoestepa’s technical courses allow us to share experiences and learn from the experiences of other masters”.
During the campaign, he focuses all his attention on supervising all the factors that determine the quality of the resulting juice: the condition of the olives received, machinery, indicators, etc. He confesses that “he is very well supported in this task by all his colleagues, because we are all clear about what needs to be done to achieve quality and we are all working together”. Because they have recently increased the milling capacity, the olives that enter the cooperative are in the torva less than 24 hours. Because the speed with which the extra virgin olive oil is extracted from the olives is fundamental, he explains to us that the milling ends every day around 4 or 5 in the morning, and then they have to get down to cleaning and leave everything ready for the next day, “there are even days that we don’t stop, we are there 24 hours, it depends on the amount of olives that come in that day.”
He tells us that for his cooperative the best way to classify the olives is by varieties, since all the olives of the same variety are in a similar state and this allows him to know that all the juice obtained is going to have the same quality.
He proudly affirms that all the farmers who are members of the cooperative are very aware that “things have to be done well from the field”, because as Jesús tells us the cooperatives do not have a magic wand to be able to extract a good olive oil from a bad fruit.
When the campaign is over, they start with the cleaning of the mill and the assembly in the factory. It is essential to leave everything ready for the next campaign.
In his opinion, although there are several factors to achieve a high quality extra virgin olive oil, Jesús focuses on time: “the less hours the olives are in the mill, the better”.
Finally, he confesses that being an oil miller master is a vocation, because “you have to dedicate a lot of time and many hours that you take away from your family and friends”.
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