Sierra Espadan is a natural park in the coastal mountains of eastern Spain. It's 1,000m mountains offer fabulous views to the Mediterranean about 50km away. And it's deep valleys provide a unique, moist, climate that grows special olive trees on its unique sandstone soils.
Sierra Espadan's Special Olive Oil
Our limited edition Serriana extra virgin olive oil comes from a unique sandstone mountain region which is cooled by Mediterranean sea breezes.
Located in Castellon, Spain, this mid mountain natural park enjoys clean and pure air.
It is called the Sierra Espadan. And has been a protected natural park since 1998.
Typically, the olive trees here grow at an altitude of 300 to 600m - enough to ensure cold winter nights naturally kill off bugs, yet warm and sunny enough to grow superb olives.
The local red sandstone soil supports a unique olive variety - Serrana - that adds a depth and smokiness to this delicious olive oil.
The Sierra Espadan is located just back from the Mediterranean coast. From the high peaks you can see the sea in the distance.
A main high ridge runs through the middle of the sierra (East to West) at about 1,000m. To the north and south, there are lower peaks and the villages are typically located between 260m and 505m.
You can see from this map how close the Sierra Espadan is to the Mediterranean. Yet, at the same time, it is largely accessible only by twisty mountain roads.
This means that there is next to no pollution and is still close to the busy Mediterranean corridor.
You can also see the numerous small rivers which traverse the Sierra Espadan park. In addition, the main peaks are the Sierra Espadan 1083m (or Serra d'Espada in Valenciano) and La Rápita (1106m).
The Sierra Espadan enjoys more rainfall than is typical along the Spanish Mediterranean coast.
This additional rainfall allows rivers to flow most of the year and the many natural springs flow in all but the fiercest summers.
The relative abundance of water means that the olive trees of the Sierra Espadan are sustainably watered and the national park status of the area mean that the intensity of agriculture is strictly controlled.
Serriana Olive Oil comes from 7 villages in the Sierra Espadan. The village pictured - Ain - sits at just under 500m below the peak of the Peña Pastor (the Shepherd's Rock).
Ain is famous for its Moorish white houses and narrow streets.
Other villages include Eslida, Artana, Alucida de Veo, Sueras, Tales, Ayodar and Fuentes de Ayodar. Together, they form the central valleys of the Sierra Espadan.
If you are visiting Spain, you can plan your Sierra Espadan visit hear. There are both mountain hikes and river walks. The region is not only famous for its olive oil, but also its cork production and a small amount of artisan bodegas or wineries.
PROTECTING SIERRA ESPADAN FUTURE
Despite legal protection, this natural park is under threat. The risks are primarily economic and climatic. For instance, the forest fire in nearby Bejis, destroyed a significant number of olive trees. Something similar could easily happen here too. Equally, the economic challenges of low olive oil, almond or fruit production pushes people away the villages and towards the big cities.
So far, the unique climate and conditions of this Sierra have maintained sufficient income for farmers and local economic activity. We are working to help this too. And, every bottle or can of Serriana olive oil that you buy helps to support this special region.