Our olive oil on the black market in post-war Spain
This took place in the Forties and Fifties, in post-civil-war Spain, after all the bloody fighting and desperation which this armed conflict inflicted on our country, when life in the villages was harder than ever. The after-effects of the war were still in evidence and coupled with drought and overall misery, the country’s population suffered badly. This suffering was also felt in the village of La Palma d’Ebre. On the back of this, the black market flourished and everyone who was able, to guarantee the subsistence of their family and friends, tried to make extra money with their olives.
La Palma d’Ebre was no different. In those days, our extra virgin olive oil was as, or more, sought after than now and yet taxes took a large percentage of our production. With the very same non-conformist spirit which had always characterized us, our parents decided that in order to guarantee the subsistence of the local population, they had to sell on the black market and this is what they did.
In those days an extra room was built in the basement and kept hidden. It ran parallel to the one where we still keep our underground vats or “trulls” nowadays and where we store our prized olive oil. This room was where a large vat with a false wall and bottom was located. It was as big as any of the official ones and was only accessible from the outside by a small hole. This hole was well hidden and big enough to run a hose to it, which allowed us to get the olive oil and take it to our houses in the dead of night.
If you visit our cooperative, you will be able to see for yourselves these old vats with false bottoms which are still there today. It is an honour to pay homage to our mothers and fathers who struggled so much for our survival.