The world’s top olive oil-producing region educates its youth, turning them into extra virgin ambassadors
Over the course of last week, 156 schools across the region of Jaén, Spain, and some 40,000 students, were united to celebrate the Semana Escolar del Aceite de Oliva, the School Week of Olive Oil.
The event included a variety of activities adapted for children of all ages, from toddlers to teenagers ranging from crafts to readings, theater, and, of course, tastings through which the kids can discover extra virgin’s flavors and aromas. Students will learn about olive oil’s history in the region, and even how it has inspired poets and painters who’ve passed through.
The ultimate goal is to teach young locals the value of extra virgin, particularly when it comes to its health benefits, thus developing them into consumers and ambassadors of the region’s liquid gold.
It’s a worthy objective. Though Jaén is the world’s top olive oil-producing region, its residents often know relatively little about the benefits of extra virgin and how best to appreciate it.
María Molero Villar, an owner of Jaén-based Cortijo Spiritu Santo olive oil, explained to Olive Oil Times: “It’s important to teach even the youngest of kids the value of high-quality olive oil so that they appreciate it and its health benefits. They are our future consumers.”
“Our aim,” said Francisco Reyes, the president of the local government, “is to continue working with this idea that olive oil and the culture around olives get the attention and respect they deserve.”
The weeklong initiative was driven by the government of Andalusia and forms part of the second annual Fiesta del Primer Aceite de la Cosecha, which officially kicks off the harvest season.
This “Festival of the Harvest’s First Oil” takes place throughout November in Jaén and beyond. Other event highlights include tastings, workshops, and some 50 bars and 30 restaurants that are featuring the newly produced oils.