Gerardo Capitán Narbona
Oil master miller of the associated cooperative Olivarera Nuestra Señora de la Fuensanta in Corcoya (Seville).
Although the new campaign brings him to almost three lustrums of experience as an oil mill master, his professional link with the cooperative stretches back over two decades. “I started working in the cooperative’s office, but my training and interest in everything related to quality management made me keep an eye out for opportunities that arose in the mill, and that came after six years of combining my office work with the management of olive reception during the season, in the form of promotion to master miller”, Gerardo explains.
He considers that his knowledge of quality control has been key to his professional development as a master. “The technical training courses for teachers promoted by IFAPA and Oleoestepa were very useful for me, but it would not have been enough without the culture of quality that I received in my studies,” Gerardo explains. In fact, at the beginning, his obligation was to ensure the implementation of and compliance with the new quality standards. “Now they are complied with without a second thought, but it was not easy to make everyone (farmers and technicians) see the importance of complying with quality standards, it was a constant struggle”, Gerardo recalls.
This demand for sustainability has also been extended to the level of sustainability. “Here it’s like with pork, everything is used, nothing is thrown away,” explains Gerardo. “In fact, the branches and leaves that are discarded when cleaning the olives are treated for use as biomass.
But he is clear about the priority: extracting the juice from a healthy, freshly harvested olive. That is why cleanliness and speed in the extraction process are key for Gerardo in achieving a high quality extra virgin olive oil. “Controlling these two factors, the crucial moment is in the selection during reception, which is why the mill master must dedicate almost all his time to monitoring the fruit that arrives and making an appropriate distribution to the different lines according to their expected quality,” Gerardo explains. “And of course, always counting on quality fruit, which is why I never tire of asking our associate growers to take the utmost care of the olive trees, and I know that they do”, Gerardo gratefully transmits.
When the olive juice extraction campaign comes to an end, it is time for a thorough overhaul of all the machinery, checking and incorporating new technology and, of course, cleaning it to the maximum, leaving it in perfect condition for the next campaign.
After so many years of experience, the level of expectation generated by the start of each campaign is still very high. “The desire to improve continues to be enormous and even more so to share it with his colleagues in order to achieve better oils”, adds a master who is excited about his “profession”.
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