In the past, the department 66 was a significant olive oil producer. After the terrible winter in 1956, olive trees were replaced by peach, abricot or cherry.

THere are seven local varieties of Roussillon olive: oliviere (the most known), poumal, glory, verdale de Millas, courbeil, argoudeil and redouneil. Other varieties exist in the department like arbequine from Spain, Lucques from Languedoc, Picholine from the Gard department

passionate producers of olive oil from Pyrenees Orientales gathered in a union to make possible a protecteed designation of origine ‘Roussillon Olive Oil’, with the help of INAO (national institute in charge of this label)

THis is for promoting local varieties of olive which give to the oil such a particular taste. ALso to encourage tradtional production, refusing intensive fruit hedges: according to the specifications, trees should be at 7 meters from each others to get all the sun. the Roussillon olive oil logo is a tree (oliviere, very specific) with the mont Canigou in the back ground

While our modern society promotes high productivity and profitability, the Mas Fabre de Laferriere prefers using traditional methods for producing a particularly elegant and subtle olive oil.
Three factors influence the productivity: the quantity of fruits per tree, the amount of trees per hectare and the quantity of oil produced per olive. Huile des Orgues has preferred quality to quantity. Here are the reasons why.
In the intensive production model, all these parameters are optimized, for instance planting the tree in hedges, using machines to harvest the fruits (like for wine production) and selecting varieties of olive producing a lot of oil. As a result, trees in this kind of intensive production get exhausted and have to be replaced every 10 years, while in a traditional culture, as you know, an olive tree can produce for thousands of years!
Noël and Lily Fabre have made the choice of traditional production, in harmony with nature, and with trees planted at 7 meters from each other to better get the sun. The Roussillon is backed by the Pyrenées (see on the photo the Canigou mountain), a very windy area (see the orientation of the trees) and very sunny.
The main variety of the property Laferrière, the Oliviere, requires 10 kg of olive to make a liter of oil, that is twice more than other varieties, but when we taste the Huile des Orgues, we understand the value of our agricultural choices![:]

Cooking with olive oil offers gastronomic perspectives that no other oil can offer. Here are some explanations.
As explains Christian Pinatel, world expert in this area, olive oil is an exception because it is made from fresh fruits and because the oil is contained in the pulp of the fruit, not in the seed. This is why we can find in olive oil many flavors that exist in other fruits.
Olive oil offers much more aromas than any other culinary oil which is extracted from seeds and is – most of the time – refined, which kills its organoleptic properties. When you’ll taste our single variety “Oliviere” from Huile des Orgues, you’ll discover delicate flavors of fresh tomato and raw artichoke. This fruity flavor, associated with a spicy taste due to polyphenols, makes the joy of gastronomes and offers unlimited culinary possibilities. It is very specific of the olive oil from Roussillon.
This is what motivated Lily and Noel Fabre, initially peach producers to convert to the production of olive oil.
From “Tasting Olive Oil Part II” by Christian Pinatel in “Le Nouvel Olivier” – November December 1999.

To preserve the fruit during the harvest, we use vibrating ‘combs’ long enough to reach the upper side of the trees. Vibrations are transmitted to the branches and make the olive fall down. We also use large nets which are deployed around the tree like a reversed umbrella. Olives fall naturally in a basket located at the bottom of the net.
Once the tree has given all its fruits, the net moves easily to the next tree as it is motorized (see photo).
This technique helps saving time and guarantees the preservation of the fruit which is essential for the quality of the oil.
As you can see in the wooden box (called ‘Palox’), the olives are really beautiful and will be pressed within 24 hours, another condition for high quality oil. We harvest when there is a balance between green olives, black olives and in-between. This stage of maturity corresponds to the optimum of aromas and gives to our olive oil a fresh, vegetal and harmonious taste.
The olive oil ‘Huile des Orgues’ comes exclusively from the olives harvested in our property, in Ille sur Têt, in the South of France, in an area called ‘Roussillon’.