Cutters-20090609_4728, originally uploaded by Paradise in Portugal.

This job can only be done at this time of year as the cork comes away from the tree easier now when the weather is warm. It doesn’t kill the tree taking the cork off; the cork’s removed every 9 years. However, the Cork tree is a type of oak and as such is a slow grower – the first worthwhile “crop” is about 45 years after planting – so if this industry dies this rural mainstay will probably be gone for good ….