Contents of the box: 1 box contains 5Kg of organic pasta
Variety: durum wheat
1 x macaroni (2,5kg, plastic bag)
1 x spirals (2,5kg, plastic bag)
Organic farming certified by the European Organic Farming label since 2005
The whole-grain pasta is very nutritious and does not need more cooking time than regular pasta
The dry pasta can be conserved in perfect condition for a long period if it is stored in a cool and dry location
Cultivation in sparsely populated areas
Rafael Cuevas Salvador
My name is Rafael Cuevas Salvador, and together with my son Jorge, we have been the property's owners since 1985. Shortly after the purchase I proposed putting small weirs in the gully to favor birds and foster the presence of a scarce resource in this zone, namely water.
Towards the end of the 1990s we began to see cranes in the area on a regular basis during winter months and one of their preferred resting areas was our property. Since the beginning both my son and I have taken measures to facilitate their presence and ensure they were not disturbed.
Our family has been linked to our village and our land for a long time. My grandparents and my parents were farmers here in Codo and I continued with the business, as my son Jorge is doing now. It's a really complicated industry, in which you can't rest on your laurels, especially in a place like this with extreme weather, a lack of water and low yields. However, it's a very valuable area environment-wise and in which traditional farming plays a key role. This also encourages us to continue in the world of farming and look for new lines to move forward with production. That's why we're also very happy to have started with direct selling through CrowdFarming.
I've always worked in farming or closely related activities. I've been keen to buy some new farms and make my holdings even more reliable and viable for some years now, especially since my son Jorge told me that he wanted to stay in the village and continue in this industry. The beginnings were complicated, but little by little we’ve been able to make headway thanks to perseverance and a lot of hard work.
Only my son and I work at Finca Picarnero. For specific jobs, there’s a group of farmers in the village and we help one another out. Our daily routine is very dependent on the season of the year. The work involved with the cereal production and our olive trees is very intense, especially at certain times such as harvesting. Transforming our wheat into pasta and selling it was already a major task for us, so it has been really useful to count on our friends at Riet Vell and all their experience in this area.
Cultivation in this zone is irregular and production is limited as a result of the arid conditions, which nevertheless results in high-quality wheat. From there arose my relation with Riet Vell and I have been patnering with them since 2005. Riet Vell has for years been buying wheat from growers from the area for conversion into pasta and markets it along with other products such as rice and legumes.
Now we have reached an agreement to offer a new product, with complete traceability from our property in Picarnero, in Belchite, to the consumer. The pasta is of great quality and helps in the maintenance of valuable areas for migratory European cranes and contributes to keeping alive a rural zone that is threatened by depopulation.
The Picarnero landscape where we have the property is located in the wide Ebro River valley, near the Planerón Ornithological Reserve, a nature reserve of very high environmental value managed by SEO/BirdLife for the protection of birds and steppe habitats.
On the property, besides the cultivation of hard wheat, we have a seasonal gully that in winter months usually fills with water, providing a magnificent resting stop for cranes. The crane is a migratory bird that nests in central and northern Europe and is considered an emblematic species in many countries.
In the property we have certified organic production and have no means of using irrigation methods. The wheat grows solely as a result of the limited rains that fall in the area, one of the most arid on the continent. This circumstance means lower production but with an elevated quality for its transformation into pasta. Normally the wheat produced is sold in bulk together with output from other growers from a wide area.
What we propose with this initiative is a differentiated outlet for the production from this property and specifically from this zone, which limited as it is, has a grand importance for biodiversity conservation and the local economy.
In the case of rainfed durum wheat farming in these arid areas with such an extreme climate, as found in the heart of the Ebro Valley, the problem of weeds isn't particularly relevant. Few species can grow and develop enough to compete with wheat. These climate and aridity conditions also tend to result in very low yields, although with high quality. Just like with weeds, the occurrence of other types of pests is rare. The dry atmosphere and low plant density encourage aeration and the scarcity of diseases.
In production, only the straw resulting after harvest is generated. If the year is very good and the harvest is abundant, there will be a lot of straw and it can be packed and sold for livestock use. However, the combine harvester usually chops the straw and spreads it across the field for its use as a nutrient and organic matter. Wheat bran, when making wholewheat pasta, is incorporated into the semolina and the resulting pasta.
Rainfed agriculture in these areas calls for specific jobs that are spread out over certain times of the year: land preparation before sowing, sowing, harvesting and ploughing the fields to improve the incorporation of organic matter. That's why in addition to this type of cultivation, we have olive trees for both oil and for table olives. Between the rainfed cereal and the olive trees, we split up our tasks according to the biological cycle, the agronomic cycle and the climate.
Finca Picarnero, Belchite, ES
3 men and 2 women
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