Contact details at the end of the blog.
There are tours at 1100, 1300 and 1500 but obviously this varies so best to
call Mara and ask. 20 € per person
LA Organic Experience, olive oil tasting in Ronda, is by far the brightest star in Ronda’s tourist firmament. Everything about it speaks of love and care, dedicated and devoted attention to detail not to mention innovation and creativity. The elegant neo-industrial architecture, the sweeping views, the meticulously kept vegetable gardens, and naturally the precious olive oil all combine to make it a must visit when staying with us at Los Castaños.
LA Organic Experience opened its beautiful gates to visitors in January 2019, but I have only just recently visited it. I went with my friend, Emily, also from Cartajima. Surprises started the moment we arrived in the uniquely engaging car park. Who thought a parking lot could be so entertaining!
After a five-minute introductory video, charming, multilingual Mara guided us on a tour lasting about an hour and a half. She explained that the timing was flexible depending upon how many questions visitors asked. She went to great lengths to explain everything to us – the background history of this incredible project, how it evolved, the construction, and the future. All fascinating.
Our tour proper began in the immaculate vegetable gardens that will one day provide a surplus to be sold in The Box format. Can´t wait! Ecologically grown vegetables are hard to come by. The recently planted beetroot and peas and kale and beans were waiting for Spring, each small plant peeking through a hole in the coconut fibre that covers the ground. Permeable, durable and beautiful, it was the same colour as the rusted iron sculptures and the raw sienna gravel. All combined to sooth a troubled mind. In fact it was like a meditation walking through the grounds encountering astonishing sculptures out of the incredibly creative brain of Philippe Starck.
We saw the original field of mature hojiblanca trees and then the hundreds of recently planted olive trees of different varieties, each carefully chosen for their prized peculiarities. There is an avenue lined with many little-known Spanish cultivars, each one labelled with its special characteristics and amplified by Mara´s expert knowledge. She plucks an olive from a tree from time to time to demonstrate the oil within or not as the case may be. We saw a modern mini mill on the property which demonstrates to the public the process of extracting oil from the olive. Fascinating.
LA Organic is so diverse, it´s impossible to mention all the surprises it offers but I particularly loved one creation. In a little corner of the site there was a homage to the three cultures of Andalucia. The fountain has a Roman soldier. Next to it is an Arab water well (the Arabs were famous for their hydraulic genius), and, representing the Christian era is the tiniest of chapels that was carefully transplanted from the original La Amarillo finca (now you know what the LA refers to!)
The pièce de resistance, the tasting, took place in the main building and included some special techniguqe which I shall not divulge ♥. Suffice to say it was fascinating, and we learned so much about olive oil in that brief time.
LA Organic Experience produce a range of olive oils and we were invited to sip them all! Sounds strange but, as Mara pointed out, olive oil is nothing more than a fruit juice, juice of the olive. Olive oil tasting in Ronda is the real thing!
At the end there is the opportunity to buy some of the oil and of course I couldn´t resist. It was the top of the line and will be reserved for top dressing, not for cooking.
Do I wax too lyrical? Sorry can’t help it. Such quality of experience is rare and I know it´s difficult to maintain the necessary level of care in a busy tourist town where your customers are here today and gone tomorrow and why bother, why care. La Organic Experience deserves every praise. They care deeply.
The good news is that LA Organic Experience are not alone. There are other businesses in the Ronda area that clearly care about their clientele and fight against the trend to mediocrity.
As other visit-worthy places in the world, Ronda is suffering from overtourism especially the old parts of the town during the day where they tend to congregate. Coachloads of day-trippers pour off the massive cruisers that sail into Malaga port every day and are bussed up the mountain to plod the ancient streets of Ronda looking for a souvenir.
But Cartajima remains a pristine picturesque escape from modernity and crowds and a perfect distance from Ronda for seeing the wondrous sites and then coming home to your elegant comfortable home from home.
LA ORGANIC EXPERIENCE
MARA MASO – GUIDE
IT IS ON THE CAMPILLOS ROAD
JUST A COUPLE OF KM OUTSIDE RONDA)
+34 600982551 firstname.lastname@example.org