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WHO'S WHO IN THE ISLAND

Luis Hernández – Creator and producer of the Teguerey virgin olive oil (Tiscamanita)

“The key to obtaining quality is mostly based on the care of the olive trees”

FMHOY - Fuerteventura

WHO'S WHO IN THE ISLANDWe are in Tiscamanita in the olive grove of Luis Hernández, creator and producer of Teguerey virgin olive oil. We know that his oil has won various prizes and we wanted to find out more.

When did you decide to dedicate yourself to olive trees?

It was over eight years ago, but we have only been making our own oil for the past four years. I am from Las Palmas and I came here to see my mother in law with my children and my wife at the time and I told my father in law to look for a plot of land in that area for me. They had collected olives from the three olive trees from their own plot and as I like olives a lot, it gave me the idea. I first purchased 32.000 m2 and then neighbours sold other plots to me until I reached the 85.000 m2 that I currently own.

How have you managed to produce such a good quality of oil?

For the first harvests we used the Cabildo's mill and then we purchased our own mill and we recently purchased a new one, more sophisticated that we imported from Italy. It works very well and we have gained in quality, although with the old mill we won the Agrocanarias prize two years ago and last year we won it again with the new mill. But the key to quality comes mostly from the care of the olive trees. There are various favourable factors; the climate is incomparable, the best in all the Canaries for this production, the earth is excellent and the only negative factor is the lack of water. Water is the most complicated subject and we have been able to compensate for the lack of water with our own fresh water maker. Although we do our own water testing, we need to treat the water because of the high content in salt. We use water with a pH of 6,2 to 6,6. Sometimes we use the water from the mains network, but we check a lot the pH and we need to improve it before using it in order to avoid problems later during the production. Our quality year after year comes from the treatment we carry out on the water. I also have Mohamed as my right hand who is very well trained in the care of olive trees and the elaboration of oil and this is a great help.

You also sell olives as well as oil, what are your projects?

Well, this is a small production, which doesn't allow us to have a lot of staff and, therefore, we work longer hours than the norm. We could produce more litres of oil if we let the olives mature longer, but we wouldn’t obtain the quality and the acidity that we currently have. Our oil has a very low acidity. Tell us about the prizes and medals you have won with your oils. It is the third year in a row that we are rewarded by the Cabildo of Tenerife. Last year we obtained two gold medals and one silver medal. One gold medal for Hojiblanca and the other for Arbequina and Picual and a silver medal for an Arbequina. And this year we have won a gold medal with a mix of all three types. We also won the ICA prize two years in a row from the Canarian Government in Agrocanarias. This prize will be presented to us later on this month. Is the olive you are using for oil the same as the olives you are selling in jars? Yes, it is the same, but if the olive is very small, it is used for the oil production.

And what can you tell us about diseases?

Like many before me, I thought that planting olive trees didn't require any water and that there were no diseases. I was wrong in both cases, there are diseases and we have to be very attentive in order to avoid damages to the plants. Where can we purchase your products? In addition to Fuerteventura's airport, there are the Cabildo's shops and the gourmet food shops. We also have continuous orders from existing clients.

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