Les Lloses is a family farm where citrus fruits have been growing for more than 50 years. At the moment, I am the only member of the family who continues to cultivate the farm, together with two permanent workers and several temporary workers.
Les Lloses is located in the municipality of Sagunto, in the district of Gausa, which lies at the foot of the eastern end of the Sierra Calderona, when it reaches the Mediterranean Sea. To the west, it borders a small mountain known as the Muntanyeta de les Lloses. To the north, five kilometres away, the mountain of Sagunto, enclosed by the walls of its Roman castle. To the east, 6 km away, is the Marjal del Moro wetland, an ornithological reserve on the shores of the Mediterranean Sea. This special enclave is not only a unique environment, but also provides a particularly favourable climate for the cultivation of citrus fruits and pomegranates.
The agricultural estate covers 31 hectares and is concentrated around its Masía (Mas les Lloses), a building more than 100 years old with a modernist touch. In les Lloses different varieties of oranges, clementines and pomegranates are cultivated, in a completely respectful manner with the environment, thanks to the use of organic fertilizers and the maximum use of useful fauna.
My job is to manage the farm and make the technical decisions so that Octavio and Emilio can carry them out. Octavio has been working on the farm for more than 30 years and Emilio joined us about 4 years ago. Both receive a higher salary than the one established in the agricultural collective agreement.
The farm’s irrigation system is localised drip irrigation, and over the past two years most of the old water emitters have been replaced in order to achieve a more efficient water distribution. An adult orange tree needs about 12,000 litres of water per year to ensure the harvest and for its maintenance. We obtain this water from our own well located on the farm, which is about 30 metres deep.
We utilize sustainable agriculture methods in which neither pesticides nor herbicides are used. We keep the weeds at bay with brush cutters, and as far as pests are concerned, we only intervene when strictly necessary, giving absolute priority to biological control, and if this is not possible, we use means permitted in organic farming. I am fully convinced that the lasting solution lies in the use of useful insects, so much so that during 2020 we have set up an insectarium.
We also try to encourage the survival of useful insects that are present in nature, by preserving spontaneous vegetation cover, and planting hedges that provide shelter and food throughout the year.
One way of improving the soil structure is by shredding the pruning waste, which is not an immediate improvement but over the years creates a very beneficial natural cover.
Citrus fruit cultivation is affected by many pests that only modify the external appearance of the fruit. In my opinion, this fruit is perfectly suitable for consumption and should not be rejected unless it is also affected on the inside, or unless it has not grown sufficiently, in which case, it is used for industry and is always picked by the same person, Manuel.