Oil Master Millers: Pedro León Candelaria

Pedro León Candelaria

Oil mill master at the cooperative associated Olivarera San Plácido in Badolatosa, Seville.

Pedro León Candelaria, oil master miller associated with Olivarera San Plácido in Badolatosa, Seville.

Six years ago he started working in the mill, performing all the tasks in the process of olive juice production as an assistant to the master, before achieving the position of oil master miller two campaigns ago. The experience gained as an assistant has been fundamental in his learning process, but even more so the technical training. “Luckily, during this period I have been able to count on Oleoestepa’s continuous training by taking different courses ranging from technical and mechanical issues to learning how to taste extra virgin olive oils, something fundamental for this job,” Pedro points out.

During the campaign, his work does not end until he has milled all the olives harvested that same day. Pedro considers the emotional component to be key in this job, with which he can overcome the pressure of the day to day, pointing out that “in the campaign there are no timetables, sometimes it ends at midnight, sometimes at 4 in the morning, but to get a high quality juice you can’t leave anything for tomorrow, time is essence”.

The fact that the San Placido cooperative is the smallest entity associated with Oleoestepa, serves as a spur to the whole team that composes it to give the best of each one in order to compete with larger mills with more technical and human resources. In this line Pedro considers that “I make a good team with the manager of the cooperative, we are young and we understand each other very well, we go to one and that shows in the final result, in the high quality of the olive juices that we achieve”.

His task as master does not end with the end of the campaign, then begins the maintenance and tuning to make it ready for the next campaign. Cleanliness and “fine” machinery are his pillars to achieve extra virgin olive oil extraction with the best organoleptic qualities, for this, time is his main challenge.  “Quality lies in achieving a milling in the shortest possible time but always in cold; it is easy to say, but very difficult to achieve”.

Pedro recalls how his situation in the cooperative changed, practically from one day to the next, “I would come in and they would tell me to do this or that, and suddenly, they offered me a position of maximum responsibility, too big for a young man like me”. Despite the stresses and strains experienced, especially during the first campaign, today he looks back with pride and satisfaction at having overcome this challenge.

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