Twenty-two years ago, whilst snarled up in UK motorway traffic, I decided the right thing to do was to buy agricultural land in Spain. I had no particular plan or reason, other than it felt right. It would be a return to my ancestral roots. Various agents took me all over the place, but I fell in love with this little estate the very moment we drove off the battered rural track and down onto her terraces. Everything about her exceeded my dream expectations: a whole hectare of olive orchard set in charming Alicante landscape, a dilapidated dwelling, and a fantastic view to boot. The feng-shui feeling was intense, so the deal was done. Local townsfolk had, for many years, referred to her as ‘Borruix,’ an old and rare Catalan name. Ancestral roots indeed. In English it sounds something like Borruighsh, sometimes Borroosh. Pardon me for trying.
Ever since, I have spent my entire vacation periods grafting away down there. I love it. I always return to the UK bounding with energy, strength, and high in spirit. Borruix grew on me, became part of me, my personality, and who I am. Naturally, I came to appreciate the beauty of everything olive. The oil, the olives, the trees, the culture of the smalltime olive farmers. I gained first-hand knowledge and experience in olive cultivation. I was becoming an olive farmer myself. Sometimes I wonder: do I grow olives, or do olives grow me?
Of latter years I have become an aficionado of raw and un-processed foods, and am drawn to the science of how our bodies metabolize what we eat. I came to an inkling that bottled (let’s call it liquefied) olive oil does not possess the health benefits marketeers claim it to. For one: liquefied oil is around one fifth saturated fat and wax, yet contains no fibre to help pass it through the body; next: many of the nutrients exist in the flesh of the fruit. Little of this ends up in the liquefied oil; another thing: liquefied oil defies the natural laws which govern the earth: that too much of anything good is not good. When you understand how many olives it takes to produce one small cup of oil you realize not even the worst glutton could stomach as much. We are just not designed for it. I’m not a scientist, but I know I feel more alive, healthy and nimble when I stay away from industrially produced ‘food’.
So I started experimenting with my harvests, to work out some way or another by which olives could be made palatable, whilst also avoiding the use of salt, heat, or any liquid process. Tree-palatable olives are occasionally observed in nature. After many, many years of experimentation and observation I learnt how to mimic nature on demand, and produce dehydrated shriveled up edible olives. I call them ‘tree olives’. They are raw and practically unprocessed. They are rare and delicious. They are busting with pure, liquid gold and host a plethora of olive flavours like you never knew existed. I may have redefined olives.
I hope you enjoy my website. Thank you for dropping by, please come again.
Johnny Fitzsimmons, Luton, Bedfordshire, UK20th July 2014