About our Farm
The varieties on our farm are definitely not common for the centre of Portugal and some not even native. The first years we were a little ashamed of it as we are promoters of native Portuguese produce. But the plantation has a story of our family and that is definitely something to be proud of.
Most producers have a long family history and lands are inherited to continue the family history. With us this is not the case...
Our family has been born in Condeixa-a-Nova and after many years of hard work in the restaurant industry they wished to have a little house where their roots were.. They fell in love with a watermill ruin in Atadoinha. With some luck in the '80ties they bought the ruin and over the years slowly renovated it into a holiday home. It was in 2000 when they focussed on the lands outside and most of the farmers around advised to plant olive trees as (they said) didn't need much work. As the family was from the Algarve, close to the spanish border with lots of olive groves, they took the knowledge and trees back from the south to here. A grove with Picual, Arbequina, Manzanilla & Gordal was born.
It was never the attention to not use Portuguese varieties but they took the analysis of the grounds back and these varieties were advised back then. Now we already have grafted the Manzanilla variety as it gave many problems like ripening early and attracting lots of Olive flies. In meanwhile we did manage to buy some other plots with more native variety Galega that started producing as well.
Many mistakes made in the first years as there was little knowledge. Irrigating that made the trees roots weak and trees growing sideways, using pesticides as they were not around enough to cut the weeds and keep the lands clean, harvest for a couple of days before bringing it to the olive press, etc.. It was a fun hobby but getting a little too much to handle. Olive trees are definitely not easy trees to manage!
It was us, Marije & Gui, that would fly in to start helping with harvest and pruning and fell head over heals with the grove management. Slowly wishing we could turn into a family home and something we could manage. After few years and education from Marije about production and taste we got the opportunity to take it over and take the risk. End of 2015 we went, giving up high paid jobs and investing all we had in creating a business of the small farm.
It is now 2019 and we have made big steps but also faced many (mostly due to climate) challenges. Floods, Fires and Storms have changed our outlook on everything. We try to set the right example and do the works in a organic & natural way. The quality is getting higher by the years but the yields can be improved to make our farm sustainable for the future..
As we don't own lot of land and the Condeixa community is not much interested in its agricultural side, agriculture is disappearing rapidly. There were once 41 olive presses in the area and now there are none left.
We battle this by putting our brand on the international map, working together with old farmers to take over their grove management and increasing our produce. And hopefully one day, we can open a press again....
Our dream is definitely to be able to have a sustainable farm where everybody can learn about olive oil and taste the terroir of Central Portugal which is very unique...