The El Palmar Viejo farm has been our family's meeting place since 1996, taking its name from the huge number of palm trees in the area. It's famous for the six old palm trees soaring thirteen metres high on the driveway, welcoming our visitors with grandeur.
The farm is located in the fertile valley of the river Guadalquivir. This area has been populated since ancient times by many civilisations, with the river having symbolised economic prosperity for thousands of years. There are lots of citrus orchards, stone fruit trees and nut plantations surrounding us. We've been growing persimmons on the farm since 2015, but we also have citrus fruits, fig trees, wild asparagus and walnut trees, which we use for personal consumption over the year.
Our region, close to the capital, has many economic opportunities, but agriculture is deeply rooted and one of the province's top economies. In fact, it's becoming more so thanks to the modernisation of agricultural practices and irrigated crops.
The water comes mainly from the Lower Guadalquivir Valley irrigation community. An interesting anecdote is that my father-in-law, when buying the farm, observed that the irrigation was channelled via surface furrows. With the idea of leveraging and increasing the sustainability of the farm, he transformed these furrows into pressurised underground pipes to drip-feed all the crops, which avoided the use of another source of water and energy. The farm today has a localised drip irrigation system, which is also automated, avoids unnecessary transport and saves fuel and time.
The farm became organic in 2017, shortly after my husband (a young farmer now) left his job as an IT engineer and joined the world of farming. He modernised the farm and increased sustainability in most of the processes, and we hope that this will boost productivity for us.
The grass is periodically cleared, and the pruning remains are incorporated into the soil to foster its development and life. We also use biological control methods that eliminate harmful species through commensalism. Our crops need the use of phytosanitary products adapted to organic farming, whose active principles are based on natural substances that respect the auxiliary biodiversity of the area.
At El Palmar we're a team of two men and one woman, made up of my husband and father-in-law, who are in charge of planning the harvest season, and all maintenance tasks. As for me, I'm in charge of technical advice, marketing the products and now everything to do with CrowdFarming. During the busiest times of the year, we contract external staff for the jobs of felling, clearing and harvesting the fruit. All of them have a job contract and salary in line with the provincial labour agreement, and we contract them every season depending on their availability.
The quality of our fruit shows all the hallmarks of my father-in-law's experience, who has dedicated his entire life to the farm. We sell any fruits that fail to meet his criteria for the production of organic juice.