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History of the Moulin de l'Olivette

History of the moulin de l’olivette :

The Moulin de l'olivette was created in 1928 in the form of a farmers’ cooperative by producers who needed to control the way their olive oil was made. Its chairman and founder was Ernest DEVAUX. Located in Manosque, a commune right in the middle of Haute Provence, which at the time had the largest number of olive trees in the department of Alpes-de-Haute-Provence, this olive-oil mill was to accompany and fuel the history, development and modernization of local olive oil throughout the 20th century. It also suffered from the ups and downs of olives and olive oil, but thanks to the experience acquired by the successive generations of producers and oil-pressers, it overcame various ordeals and in particularly the 2 frosts of 1929 and 1956 which practically wiped out all the French olive orchard.

Then it succeeded in getting through the dark years of olive oil after the frost of 1956, thanks to the passion of the self-consuming olive-growers more attached to their olive-trees and their region than to profitability of olive-growing, which was at the time practically non-existent,. There was actually a period in which olive oil, then a far cry from today’s consumer image, had to give way to seed oils which took over the oil market and won the hearts of the French.

The Second World War was also to tragically mark the history of the Coopérative Oléicole de Manosque. Following the storage of gunpowder by the resistance during the last war, the building exploded in 1944 causing the deaths of 4 young people but miraculously sparing the life of the manageress of the time.

The present building was therefore rebuilt in 1952. A modern mill and a model for its time, it was built along lines of hygiene and space which had, up until then, been unknown to olive-pressers.

Since the middle of the 80s, the olive tree and olive oil have known a new lease of life, thanks mainly to the advice of French medical experts on olive oil. The Moulin de l'olivette, by the dynamism it has aroused in the olive-growers of Haute Provence, is now one of the most famous olive mills in France and its production is steadily increasing.