Guest post by Syd Blackwell
LOTE 8 – Viví Una Expeeriencia Única
If you drive east on the interbalnearia (coastal highway) from Montevideo, then switch to Ruta 9 at Pan de Azucar, you will reach the start of Ruta 12, that runs north towards the tiny village (less than 100 persons) of Pueblo Edén, Uruguay. The vibrantly green hills and valleys along this route are, in my opinion, the most scenic of Uruguay. On one of these hills, just north of the village, you will find Lote 8, a unique experience in olive oil production.
The operation, owned by an Argentinian family, offers tours, tastings, and, of course, the opportunity to purchase products. As recommended, we pre-booked a tour for our group of four, to ensure we would have the services of Martin, an English-speaking guide. We wished, as their brochure offers, “to enjoy a unique place where nature and passion transform its fruit into true art.” We were not disappointed.
The property is lovely; the vistas superb. Martin began his tour among the olive trees, where the fruit was still green and not yet ready to harvest. He explained two different methods of harvest, one with a finger-like device to strip olives from the branches, and one a shaking device to shake down olives. Matting below the trees catches the harvest.
Next, we followed the route of the fruit. First to a large grilled square in the floor where the harvest is dumped, and the conveyor that lifts it up to where the leaves and twigs are separated. Then the product moves through other machines that mix it with water, pulverize it into a slurry, and eventually separate out the valued oil. Finally, it is packaged, most in utilitarian bottles for Uruguayan supermarkets and such, and some in specially designed Mexican hand-blown glass bottles, suitable for gift purchases. Other products, such as soaps, candles, and chocolates, made with olive oil, are also available in the gift shop.
The buildings, the machinery, the layout, the total operation is just first-class. Great care is taken to produce this oil. Work also continues to add more features, more site beauty, to what is already remarkable. Step out of the processing room door and you look across a lily-pad covered pond, flanked by a bed of lavender, down and cross the grand greenness all around. This is a delight for visitors and workers alike.
The main product, La Repisada extra virgin olive oil, has already won numerous international awards, some of which are on display in the gift shop. Each of us purchased items for personal use and future gifts.
We were totally delighted with our experience and would definitely recommend a visit. More information and contact email can be found on their website.
A special thank you to Karen Higgs, who suggested such a visit in her blog, Guru’guay. Also, if you tell them you read Karen’s article, you are given a discount on your purchases!
All photos except the first by Syd Blackwell.