Mills in Alto Aragón - aceitero


Labuerda is situated on the road from L'Ainsa towards Bielsa and the French border. The mill is in a bend of this road just to the north of Labuerda. The locals know this spot as the curva del molino. The molino aceitero is built in the riverbed next to the harinero. A small path leads down from the road to the oil mill.
Both mills receive water from the Río Cinca.

Pictures 11-13: xii.2009
Pictures 14-20: by Mariano Coronas Cabrero, probably in the early 1980s

(11) former oil mill with the harinero behind

El Torno, or the oil mill, of Labuerda fared better than neighbour harinero: it is now a second resi­dence. The restauration work started in 1993 and we have an account of a visit in 1997 () when the locals were very satisfied with the preservation of the old installations.
The oil business was run by an association of 12 people living in San Vicente and in Labuerda (). Each mill thus had a separate group. This one probably was dissolved in 1985. The year of its foundation is not mentioned in the article.

There was a huge stone to crush the olives (16). This stone was turned by the water coming down from the grain mill (6). There is no margin between the balsa and the walls (17) and the use of muscle power was therefore out of the question. The walls are rather high which is often the case where the process was motorized (e.g. Palo, Sieste, Aler).

Storage was available in two kinds. First the containers where fresh olives waited before their processing (the algorines, 15) and second the kind with white tiles (20, 18) which held the oil.

The press (18, 19) was from wood first and then replaced by one from steel ().

(14) the mill and the Río Cinca
(15) storage for fresh olives; also some esteras

(16, 17) The spot where the olives were crushed under a huge wheel (ruello, or ruejo)

After the harvest members of the community gathered to make the installations ready. Someone was voted in charge of the operations and a date for the start was decided. Each member then received a time allotment from the person in charge.

The oil was extracted mainly during December and January. The mill ran day and night and the process from start to end required about six hours time. The colour of its produce was natural; it was not enhan­ced with an additive like rape-oil.

Back then olive trees were still grown in large numbers and Labuerda's mill handled the harvest of several villages from the region (e.g. Banastón, Puyarruego, Guaso, etc.).

The campaign was a festive time for children (and adults, to be sure!). They were spoiled with remojón which was toast soaked with fresh oil and topped with garlic or sugar. Sometimes the harinero provided complimentary slices of bread dipped in scrambled eggs and then fried in oil.



† Blan Aurora — 1982 — Una industria extinguida.
Revista El Gurrión - Labuerda: 6, pp 36-37
Short description of the mill and its processes. The author is the daughter of the maker of the stone shown in picture 16.
‡ Mariano Coronas Cabrero — 1997 — Fiestas de San Vicente y de Labuerda - 1997.
Revista El Gurrión - Labuerda: 69, pp 4-5
The date of the visit was Sunday, August 17th, 1997.

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