From our farm to your table is our emblematic slogan, and we could soon add another one, from the olive grove to the new mill.
2023 will be a decisive year in the history of the Pons family, and like all history it has its origins.
Decades ago, the second generation of the family said to the fourth generation, “One day water will come to our lands in the south of Lleida and it will change everything”, that visionary comment is now a reality, and it has not caught the Pons family by surprise, on the contrary, they have been preparing for this moment for decades, or perhaps throughout their entire history.
This isn’t a coincidence as you can see if we take a brief look into what happened in the last 20 years, events that have brought us here, to the imminent opening of a new mill, spectacular and unique in its innovation (we will address this subject in subsequent articles) and whimsical in its location, situated in the heart of the L’Albagés estate.
Let’s go back 20 years, and talk about an adversity that became a great opportunity, and that in a way, has brought us to what we are and will be.
In 2001, the L’Albagés estate was severely affected by the frost that year and 100 hectares of olive trees died. From adversity arose the opportunity to create one of the most interesting and ambitious projects at a global level in the world of the olive tree. On the one hand, we were committed to recovering the vineyard in the territory and, on the other hand, we started a project to adapt different varieties of olive trees from all over the world, more than 200, to the territory, thus creating the Varietal Garden. This research was supported by IRTA (Institute of Agrifood Research and Technology), with the aim of finding out the organoleptic properties, stability and adaptation to the territory of each of the varieties, including experimental varieties developed by leading nurseries in the market.
2021 was the culminating year of this olive variety research project that the Pons family had been carrying out for almost 20 years.
Once the research was completed in the Varietal Garden of the L’Albagés estate, two new varieties of olive tree were chosen and planted in super intensive cultivation in 2021 and 2022.
The first variety chosen was the Koroneiki, which has very good organoleptic properties as it is characterised by its intensity, fruitiness and aroma and by a very high adaptation to the territory and to the new agricultural technologies. Variety present in the family JANIROC de PONS.
The second is a new experimental variety called Lecciana, with incredible parameters of balance between fruit and sweetness, as well as a lively peppery finish with hints of bitterness. A variety with a high level of polyphenols, which gives stability and life to the olive oil. Also within the JANIROC family of PONS.
At the beginning of May 2021, the planting of the Koroneiki variety in super-intensive olive groves began on the Albagés estate. As we have already mentioned in previous articles, this is a variety of Greek origin that adapts very well to the limestone terroir and continental climate of our plantations. Its organic and sustainable crops, once the olive trees are planted, will generate a vegetation cover to minimise soil erosion, increasing the organic matter content of the soil and promoting biodiversity to better control pests in a complete ecological way.
In 2023, the family has continued its commitment to the expansion of these organic and sustainable crops, and always centralised around the L’Albagés estate, for a reason that we will discuss later.
The recent purchase of three estates totalling 42 hectares by the Pons family, each adjoining the current main estate, is a clear commitment to sustainable and centralised growth in one of the Catalan counties most affected by the abandonment of the territory. The arrival of water will not only affect the land or business model, but also the social environment, seriously damaged in recent decades by depopulation, especially in the younger age groups.
Between 2021 and 2023, the Pons family will have planted a total of 28 hectares of the Greek variety Koroneiki, and they have already planted a total of 35 hectares of the promising Lecciana variety, and 80 hectares of the local queen variety, the Arbequina. A project that will be completed with a total of 200 hectares and that will be complemented with two new varieties resulting from the research of our Varietal Garden.
All these recently acquired estates, and the existing ones, have something in common, the territory they share and their proximity to the new mill. The farthest olive from the new mill will be no more than 12 km away, which guarantees an unbeatable freshness from the moment it enters the mill. Its strategic location promises to be one of its main assets, but not the only one, nor the most important one. We will tell you what lies behind this ambitious and innovative technological project. We are entering year 0, zone 0, the moment awaited by many generations in our territory.
Works in the surroundings of what will be the new mill