Olive oil has been the principal agricultural crop in this valley for many hundreds of years. We have more than 300 olive trees, of the black Galega variety, and we can produce organic, cold pressed, extra virgin olive oil full of the vitality and energy of this ancient landscape.
The chestnut forest suffered a forest fire last summer. Now we are applying careful measures to assist in its recovery and regeneration. We will soon begin to produce chestnut flour. This nutritious, gluten free alternative is delicious in cakes, bread, soups and casseroles.
Native American corn is often grown together with beans and field pumpkins, which helps to maintain the rich biodiversity. Intercropping with nitrogen fixing legumes also improves soil composition. Corn is a staple, nutritious grain, and can be prepared in a variety of ways, including bread or tortillas.
The Production Barn
The 25m x 12m production barn will be built this spring. As a multi purpose building, it will have a variety of functions throughout the year. The fruit harvests begin in June, and include cherries, plums, peaches and strawberries. In September comes the grape harvest, then walnuts, chestnuts in November and finally, in December, the olive harvest. Field crops include corn, rye, pumpkins and squashes. In the terraced gardens we grow vegetables throughout the year for the Nature Spa and restaurant, and medicinal plants for creating extracts, tinctures and attenuated natural remedies.
The production barn will have an olive press, a mill for grains and chestnuts, and desiccators for drying fruits. All foods produced at Vale das Lobas are organic, free from chemicals, and grown with clean and fresh water.
Lakes and PoolsWater Harvesting
The biosphere in Iberia is edging towards desertification, and the increasingly hot summers that we now experience continue to increase the risk of forest fires. To contend with this advancing problem, the three most significant interventions we can make are:
- Moving away from industrialised farming and towards land management practices that are based on the traditions of each location.
- Reforestation with a diversity of species, and disinvesting in monocultures of cash crop pines asnd eucalyptus.
- Good water management, including restoring the use of abandonned wells and springs and the construction of lakes, contour ditches, ponds and pools for harvesting rain water.