Contents of the box: 1 box contains 2leaves of organic aloe vera leaves
5 x Aloe Vera leaves (2kg)
Organic farming certified by the European Organic Farming label since 2012
We recommend using them as a condiment for most recipes: in juices, diced in salads, as a flavour and volume enhancer in desserts, and as the perfect way to make salmorejo without bread; another great way of using them is in jams, as they add flavour and texture
The gel inside the leaves is a great moisturiser thanks to its high water content, in addition to mucilage and other carbohydrates, organic acids and salts, enzymes, saponins, tannins and amino acids, among other compounds
Tips for preservation: we recommend to keep them in a refrigerated place at a temperature between 6ºC and 10ºC
We recommend using the leaves within one month
ADVICE: when cutting the leaf a yellow liquid called "aloin" leaks from it and should be removed because its consumption is not recommended
Andrés López Raya
My name's Andrés Lopez Raya. I have spent my life giving advice to farmers on the cultivation of citrus fruits, cereals and legumes, among other crops, in the provinces of Seville, Córdoba and Huelva. In 2008, I learnt about aloe vera cultivation at an agricultural fair and was given some to taste. Funnily enough, I actually thought that aloe was only used in cosmetics and skincare. On my return, I wanted to find out more about its cultivation and its nutritional uses, so I sought help from academics who had researched the use of aloe vera in food. That's when I took the decision to start working with this crop and transform part of my farm. I visited all the surrounding plantations to learn about how to grow and manage it, and I bought a few plants to start. We gradually expanded the surface area using offsets, which are the leaves that sprout around the plant itself, and ended up with a few hectares at the beginning.
This concern arises from my other job as a farmer. Las Coronas is a family-run farm that has always grown traditional produce from the area, and I've been working there for as long as I can remember. As an Agricultural Engineer, I've always believed in the importance of not depending on subsidies due to the devaluation of crops. That's why I chose new formulas to produce 'value'. Aloe vera, just as the production of essential oils or the cultivation of olive groves did, allowed me to launch a process of agricultural transformation, also in line with the promotion of biodiversity. It's a project that integrates agritourism activities to take advantage of the landscape of colour, contrast and harmony found at Las Coronas.
I think that CrowdFarming is a good way to discover these high-quality leaves, and to open doors to an international market. We are also happy that the potential CrowdFarmers can get to visit our farm "Las Coronas".
The Las Coronas farm is located in the town of Carmona, Seville, and covers two hundred hectares. Up to 2010, it grew cotton, wheat and oranges, until I decided to dedicate myself to aloe vera. The Aloe vera fields at that time barely reached 30 hectares in Andalusia.
To make my dream come true, I've harnessed my knowledge of agronomy gained while working. The experience of other aloe producers has also given me a great deal of background information, as has the choice to focus on an industry with major growth potential. At Las Coronas I have a sample garden of aloe varieties from all over the world, which I use to expand my knowledge and research about its cultivation. For example, we use irrigation management practices in order to optimise the resources available with the needs of the plant.
In addition to aloe, we grow lavender and lemon eucalyptus, from which we extract essential oils to sell various products. The arrangement of these crops is designed to favour the circulation of insects along what we call 'green motorways', which help us with the pollination of our crops and foster the farm's biodiversity. In the flowering season, the views of our 'motorways' are spectacular, with a kaleidoscope of colours across a landscape that we're also using for agritourism activities. Our farmhouse helps us with this, as we use it to offer guests an option to enjoy the most innovative and diverse rural world in the surroundings of Seville.
We also hold training courses on aloe cultivation at the farm, which makes us an international benchmark for this product. There's still lots to do and lots to research, though. I plan to create an international centre to welcome visitors and provide information on the cultivation and transformation of aloe vera. Anyway, time will tell!
Aloe vera plants only require two major important conditions: one is that the area is free from prolonged frosts and the other, and most important, is that the plots don't experience too much humidity, which is the plant's number one enemy. Hence, concerning water needs, the plants withstand dry periods very well. We irrigate them using a drip irrigation system only in the hottest season (normally from April to October), and we get the water from our natural marsh, which collects rainwater. The rest of the tasks are in line with organic farming practices: grass is cleared or pulled out manually; pesticides are not used; and all the fertilisers are organic.
Eleven of us work on the farm. My job is mainly focused on planning and managing tasks on the land. I leave the technical and sales side in the hands of the technicians and salespeople. All employees have working conditions adapted to their responsibilities, and in accordance with current collective agreements. We're committed to job stability, as I look for profiles in keeping with my philosophy. Otherwise, it would be extremely difficult to achieve our goals and produce a profitable, sustainable crop that is grown differently from others in the region.
Finally, the by-products obtained after handling the plant end up in the soil as part of the organic substrate that feeds our plants. This is the richness of the land: if you know how to manage it intelligently, everything you receive from nature has a use.
Las Coronas, Carmona, ES
5 (2 women; 3 men)
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