The Refijo farm is located a few meters from the Viñuela Reservoir. It is a farm that has belonged to my family for more than 20 years and that we have transformed to cultivate avocados and mangoes for the past 7 years. In total, 5 relatives work on the farm with the additional support of workers when necessary. On this farm I am the second generation that has worked there. I have put a lot of focus on modernizing cultivation techniques to make them more efficient, but keeping some of the traditional ways of my grandparents who always dedicated themselves to agriculture.
It is an area close to very beautiful places, such as the Sierra Tejeda and Almijara natural park and the Viñuela Lake itself. To offer fruit with a guaranteed quality and in accordance with our values, the current management of the crop is ecological, although we are still in the early stages of conversion. Although previously we were already doing environmentally friendly agriculture, we decided to move to organic farming to contribute to the sustainability of the planet and protect the local environment. At the beginning the land was cultivated through traditional agriculture to be able to treat pests if necessary and thus favor the development of the trees, once the trees grew enough we opted for the organic certification in which we are in the process. I personally believe that organic farming is the future of agriculture, healthy, sustainable and beneficial for all.
The care of the farm is carried out with two or three people depending on the season and the work that is needed be done. Since most trees are in the development phase, each season we will increase mango production as the trees are becoming adults.
We let the herbs grow in winter as they protect the soil from erosion and favor the biodiversity that helps fight pests and maintain balance, in spring we remove them manually to prevent them from drying out the soil. The organic matter they accumulate also serves to protect the soil and thus we avoid the use of herbicides. The farm’s planting is designed to promote the infiltration of rainwater into the soil and recharge the aquifers it uses sustainably to irrigate crops. In the management of the crop we paint the trunks with lime to prevent the spread of some pests such as the aphid (the ants move the aphids from tree to tree and the lime in the trunks makes this difficult) and at the same time prevent the bark of the tree from suffering burns, so you will see the trees painted white.
Right now relatives and one or two workers are helping on the farm depending on the work to be done on the farm. The salary received by the workers is in accordance with the collective agreement, above what is required. In our work team, specific tasks are distributed to each worker, although all our workers are qualified to cover all the needs of the farm such as pruning, grafting, watering, fertilizing, etc.
The quality of the fruit that we send must firstly have an optimal state of ripeness. Secondly, it must be collected minimizing the loss of quality due to blows or inadequate conservation. Thirdly, the packaging is as homogeneous as possible and there must be an exact planning at all times so that the fruit passes as directly as possible from the tree to your home without unnecessary preservation. The fruit not suitable for shipping is intended for local consumption, in general we use it responsibly for jams and / or consumption for family and friends in the area. What is left from prunings is used as organic matter on the farm itself, and the fruits in poor condition are usually given to neighboring farmers to feed animals and avoid waste. There is no centralized composting area. We chose to compost directly under each tree in order for it to generate its own organic matter.