Spain is a country with an extensive olive tradition. Its warm climate has facilitated the proliferation of this crop, symbol of the Mediterranean Diet. The olive tree is a tree quite resistant to drought. It has morphological mechanisms for this:
- It has an extensive root system that can reach more than 100 meters deep in sandy areas and a 2 to 3 times horizontal development of the crown radius.
- Its leaves are coriaceous and have few stomata located on the underside, so they do not suffer direct radiation from the sun
- The pores of its leaves are arranged in slight depressions, where a wetter microclimate is created and transpiration decreases.
Therefore, it is a predominant crop of the Mediterranean basin, covering Europe, Africa, Asia Minor and even India. It managed to expand to America in the s. XVI through the Spanish colonizers who were the first to export this precious tree. At the international level, Spain is a leader in the export and production of table olives, followed at a great distance by other countries in the Mediterranean basin.
Its fruit: the olives
The olives are a characteristic food of the Mediterranean Diet and the main activity of many towns in the Spanish geography.
This food is characterized by its double aptitude: obtaining olive oil and its direct consumption. Some of the indicators that allow to differentiate between one class or another are: fat content of the fruit, size of the bone in relation to the pulp, its ease of detachment and features of the skin that covers it. In particular, the olives destined to table have a medium fat content, small and smooth bone that allows an easy detachment, delicate, tasty and firm pulp, and fine skin.