Liquid gold… healthy Mediterranean diet… absolutely delicious. And the Catalans do no less than five Denominació d’Origen Protegida extra virgin olive oils: Les Garrigues, Siurana, Baix Ebre-Montsià, Terra Alta, and l’Empordà. Nothing more to say except the over-the-top ‘I would die without it.’
Some of the oldest olive trees in the world live in Catalonia, in the south of Tarragona province near the Riu Ebre. A couple of years ago, researchers from Madrid Polytechnic dated a listed monumental tree called La Farga de l’Arión to around 314 A.D, when Constantine ruled the Roman Empire, which included what we now call Spain. This makes the tree, located in the municipality of Ulldecona, 1703 years old, the oldest in all of Spain and possibly in the world. If only it could talk!
For an olive tree to be considered mil.lenària (literally one thousand years old; more generally, really really ancient), the diameter of its trunk measured at a height of 1.3 metres from the ground should be at least 3.6 metres: La Farga de l’Arión measures a whopping eight metres. In fact more than 4,400 olive trees in the area tick the boxes, and apparently there are even more out there that haven’t yet been located.
Since 2011, thirty-five of these amazing trees have been protected within the Museu Natural de les Oliveres Mil·lenàries de l’Arión. And, even more amazing, they still produce oil.