The Spanish word or large estate is hacienda. Most haciendas are about 4,000 acres large and they have belonged to the same family for many, many years like the coffee plantation in India. The owner does not work on his hacienda but employs other people to do so while lives in a big mansion. A captain or foreman is in charge of the hacienda. A few laborers live in the estate. (Remember the coolie lines of the coffee estates?) During the harvest period extra laborers are hired from the neighboring villages on daily wages. Between harvest times the laborers on the estate keep the gardens clean and free from weeds which use up valuable moisture needed by the trees. They have to hoe the land every week to prevent it from cracking and becoming too hard.

Most of the haciendas grow citrus fruits like oranges and lemons and also olives, grapes, peaches and pomegranates. Sometimes wheat or paddy is also grown. There are also the smaller landowners who grow crops of wheat, maize and vegetables. They work for long hours as much of the digging and harvesting is done by hand. Even these small, separate plots feed many people. But though the land is fertile, many farmers are still poor.

The oranges of Seville

Seville lies in the valley of the River Guadalquivir. This area is famous for growing oranges. Dams built across the river hold back water which is used to water the plants during the hot, dry summer. These oranges are not sweet like Indian oranges but are slightly bitter and are good for making marmalade. Great care has to be taken of an orange grove. The trees are pruned and twigs cut off. Fertilizers are added to the soil while the trees have to be sprayed with insecticides.

The ripening season is the busiest time during which the whole family of a worker helps in the work. The fruit id plucked carefully and ladders are used to reach the higher ones. Baskets of fruits are taken to the house, graded and stamped with the word Seville. They are then wrapped in tissue paper and packed away in wooden crates which are then shipped to various countries.

The olives of Cordoba

Cordoba lies about 30 km northeast of Seville which has lie on the river Guadalquivir. More than half the land here is under olive cultivation. Indeed, Cordoba is known as the leading olive- producing area of Spain.

Just like the groundnuts in India, olives are also grown for their oil here. This oil is used for cooking. Oil is extracted by putting the olives into a big stone basin. A heavy stone which goes round slowly crushes the olives and the oil is pressed out. The oil obtained in the first two pressings is for human consumption.

The left over is used to make soap. In some places the olive are crushed and pressed by machines. The leaves of the olives tree are used as fodder for the mules and oxen. Olive harvesting is done in December. Great care has to be taken not to damage the fruit. Some of the olives that are meant to be eaten are harvested when they are slightly green. Only the fully ripe ones are used for oil making.

The grapes of Jerez

Jerez lies south of Seville. The best grapes grow here and the owners of vineyards are able to make good profits. There are a number of varieties of grape-the light green grapes that are meant to be eaten, the purple grapes that are used to make the wine called sherry (a corruption of Jerez) and the raisin grapes that are dried, cleaned and exported. These are the raisins used in making cakes. Growing grapes for wine production is called viticulture.

The growing of grapes is very difficult. Grape vines are supported by a criss- cross frame work, or trellis. The vines must be carefully tended, pruned and manure. Since very frequent watering ruins the wine made from grapes must be picked by skilled workers. The stalks, leaves and other impurities are removed and the grapes are crushed in presses. The juice must ferment for a day or two, before it is put into a cask where it stays for long time. The older the wine, the more expensive it is.

We have considered the life and produce of a Spanish fruit –grower. Though there are other places in the world which have a Mediterranean type of climate and they produce the same type of fruits, their war way of living differ in very way from the life style of people living in the Mediterranean lands.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


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