Francisco Javier del Pozo Gallardo
Oil master miller of the Roda Agricultural Cooperative in La Roda de Andalucía (Seville).
Son of an oil mill master, his link with the cooperative goes beyond the strictly professional. Although he started working in this cooperative in 1991, he had already spent some years sporadically helping his father, a former master of the cooperative.
After his retirement, the cooperative placed its trust in him as the person in charge of olive oil extraction in the mill. He laughingly tells us that “I learned by head-butting” and with the invaluable help of his father. “My beginnings coincided with a time of important industrial changes in the way of producing oil, from the old presses to a more dynamic system based on mixers and centrifuges, so my father’s technical recommendations were soon outdated”, and Francisco Javier recognizes that “from what there was to what there is today there is nothing left but the machinery shed and a centrifuge”.
This great change in the mill has also been noticed in its smells and its understanding. “I am very struck by how the smells that were once considered characteristic of a good oil are now assumed to be of poor quality,” because “before we had neither the knowledge nor the awareness to take care of all the details, for example, cleaning. Fortunately the physical work is over, in the vast majority of posts the same force is no longer performed as before, greatly facilitating the tasks and allowing us to concentrate on the details that can spoil the oil in its extraction process”.
But cleanliness is not enough, “technology is our ally and whoever does not want to understand this, will not obtain high quality oils” our master asserts.
Despite all the changes made, he understands that improvement is continuous, so he is immersed in the implementation of an integral traceability system.
And making this commitment to continuous improvement his own, he has not neglected his training during this period, taking courses both at Oleoestepa to learn about the oil mill and the courses of machinery suppliers, with which he learns all the secrets of “his best allies”.
During the campaign, his work consists mainly of coordinating everything so that nothing goes wrong. During the rest of the year, he does all the maintenance and improvement of the machinery, so that “everything is ready at the beginning of the campaign and to avoid problems”.
In his opinion, the secret of a good extra virgin olive oil lies in the care of the fruit. “If you pick a good fruit, you just have to try not to spoil it” Francisco evidences. “And of course it is also key to have a good team, and here I am lucky to have great professionals and better people”.
When we ask him about some remarkable experience in the cooperative, Francisco highlights the fact of “having been born in the cooperative”. His father was the former teacher and lived in the cooperative’s house until his retirement. Although he left his family home to start a family, when he became a new teacher, he was given his old family home and spent his first years with his family.
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