Entries for the eleventh edition of the Agustí Serés Memorial Award, Spain’s olive oil culture prize, are open and will be accepted until March 30.
The award recognizes individual and collective efforts to promote, share and memorialize olive oil culture throughout Spain.
The prize aims to recognize a personal or collective work in favor of the oil culture carried out in Spain in the last three years.
“The Serés Santamaría Family rewards the efforts of people and projects that try to preserve the tradition, knowledge and culture of the olive grove and extra virgin olive oil in our country,” Paco Lorenzo Tapia, the president of Olearum and one of the judges of the competition, told Olive Oil Times.
“The prize aims to recognize a personal or collective work in favor of the oil culture carried out in Spain in the last three years,” he added.See more: Olive Oil Culture News
Agustín Serés Jr. is a doctor by training but grew up in an olive oil-producing family in northeastern Spain. His father, Agustín Serés Sr, produced olive oil in a traditional mill that was typical of time and place.
As production in Spain has shifted away from small and traditional producers to larger, more modern and super-intensive producers, Serés Jr and his family started giving out the award in order to honor his father and celebrate a traditional way of life for much of the country.
“I wanted to know the personal effort that my father made could be preserved along with our family heritage for the enjoyment of others,” Serés told Olive Oil Times in a 2018 interview. “[I also wanted these awards] to cover a space in the culture of olive oil in the Segrià region that has always been an olive-growing region.”
The winner of the prize, who is decided by a three-person judge including Serés and Lorenzo Tapia, receives €1,000 ($1,114).
Lorenzo Tapia, who won the first edition of the awards for his book about Spanish olive oil museums, said that he expects to receive between five and eight entries, but added that the exact number of entries can never be predicted.
“Of course, on occasions where the candidacies do not meet sufficient requirements, the jury has the power, ex officio, to grant it to other candidates,” he said. “In fact, all those who work in favor of the culture of oil in Spain are candidates to obtain the Agustí Serés award.”
Last year, the award went to La Molienda de Riogordo, a festival in the southern Spanish province of Malága, where local residents celebrate traditional production practices, hold educational workshops about olive oil health benefits and cooking with oil as well as partake in a variety of other activities.
“It is an eminently cultural festival that revolves around the Municipal Ethnographic Museum of Riogordo and with extra virgin olive oil as the main protagonist,” Lorenzo Tapia said. “Specifically, this festival has been developed in such a way where its main attraction is to be able to see, in operation, an oil mill over 300 years old.”
Members of the town volunteer to demonstrate to visitors and children how olive oil used to be made. A key component in the judges’ unanimous decision to award Riogordo the prize was the high level of community involvement in the project.
“The award-winning projects are a magnificent example that with little means, you can achieve magnificent and successful goals that exemplify the culture of olives and olive oil,” Serés Jr said.
Contestants can send a completed entry form to participate in the contest.