dimanche 11 novembre 2018

Lights and landscapes around the farm

We never get tired of the fascinating lights and landscapes of the inter-season. A sense of limitless space mixed with the light contrasts and the silence surrounding us give us so often the impression of levitating in a painting...

Li Jujube

One of the nice surprises of this year's fruit season was the amount of Li Jujube (Ziziphus jujuba) fruits produced by our little village tree planted in december 2016. Here, you can see a sample of it. The fruits combine a unique mix of smoked apple and raisin flavors. The locals love it. Since 2016, we have planted several other cultivars at the farm, one of them - Tiger Tooth - having also produced quite a few interesting fruits. 

We also took advantage of the autumn humidity to plant some new Aloe species in pots. This should provide us with a blossoming Christmas garden, full of Aloe flowers of various colors (orange, red, white,...).

Baking bread in the wood fired oven

Traditionally, bread was being baked once a week at the farm. When it was fresh, the bread was used in slices. As it was turning harder, the small loafs of bread were poured into the daily soup - the Alentejano verb being "migar". We found some Spelt flour and Maria and Yannick used all their expertise to lead a group of enthusiastic bakers an pizzaiolos. This would not have been possible without our Master of fire, Georgie! The result of the enterprise was a delicious dinner!

Little bustard feathers

This early November, the groups of wintering little bustards (Tetrax tetrax) have been amazing around Campinho. We came across a lot of feathers on the ground. So, we harvested them with Christien and Leo... 

dimanche 14 octobre 2018

Kakhetia (1): The wild pomegranate forests of Sighnaghi/Tsnori

Small trip today with Mariné and Vano in the Sighnaghi area (Georgia). There are old pomegranate bushes in pretty much every garden in the old town. Several people mention the cultivar "Gandjauri" and some confirm the link with the city of Ganja in Azerbaijan. It might be part of the same group of cultivars as the one we came across in Armenia a few years ago.

The morning is misty. As we go down the valley, just before entering Tsnori, we discover a recently planted olive grove and, more interestingly, a whole forest of wild pomegranates covering the slope of the mountain. They used to be mixed with other tree species such as oak trees and probably hackberry trees. There are hardly any high trees left now. The autumn colours are simply stunning, with the yellow of pomegranate bushes and the touches of red/purple of the Cornus bushes.

We take the car again and a little bit further, between Tibaani and Dzveli Anaga, we enter a vineyard. We start chatting with the owner. His father has planted a few fruit trees around the house. Two pomegranate cultivars, one of which being "Gandjauri" again. There is also a nice jujube tree, not so frequent in the area, with cherry flavoured fruits. Delicious. We are being directed to his friend Guivi, who grows pomegranate bushes in Dzveli Anaga. So, here we go...

Kakhetia (2): Pomegranate orchard in Dzveli Anaga

Back to the road. A few hundred meters further, we meet Guivi Basilashvili. He brings us to an orchard of 30 hectares, north of the main road in the valley. It has been planted a few years ago with hundreds of pomegranate bushes. There are apparently 8 or 9 varieties, several of which being referred to as “Gandjauri”. The other ones are unnamed. Many of them have hard seeds and several ones have a typical raspberry flavour.

There is also a white one that is pretty but a little bit tasteless. Neither sweet nor acid. Also, there are no dark pomegranates in this orchard. We have a long chat with Guivi about pomegranate transformation, including seed oil. The valley is just magnificent and our host extremely friendly.

lundi 20 août 2018

Chênes baobabs à la fleur de sel

Certains des chênes verts du Montado des Cebolas ont des allures de véritables baobabs. Leurs formes et leur âge nous invitent à leur donner des noms. J'avais craint que nous en perdions à cause de la sècheresse de 2017. Mais ils ont tenu bon. Ci-dessus, voici le "derviche" en été 2017. Et ci-dessous, le "trou virevoltant" en été 2018, magnifié par Delphine à l'aquarelle à la fleur de sel de Guérande.