Quinta dos Reis, which translates as the Monarchs' Country Estate, is a twelve-hectare farm located in São Lourenço do Bairro, between Aveiro (famous for its canals lined with colourful boats once used to collect seaweed) and Coimbra (the medieval capital of Portugal).
This farm belonged to a retired Portuguese soldier, who planted the Hayward kiwi crop to enjoy his passion for agriculture. He planted the crops more than twenty years ago, in the form of an amphitheatre around the natural reservoir at the heart of the farm.
We've been running the farm since 2011 with the same passion as always, with a rejuvenated crop and some changes to improve its efficiency. We divided the farm into sectors, growing approximately four hectares of Hayward kiwis in the highest zone, and the rest split between two new varieties of organic yellow kiwi and red kiwis, which we hope to offer soon on CrowdFarming. What's more, we took advantage of the perimeter of the farm to grow about one thousand avocado trees, which perfectly complement the kiwi crop and also shelter it from the wind.
We're fully convinced of the benefits of organic farming for the planet. With a view to doing our bit for the world and for sustainable food production, we opted for chemical-free organic cultivation.
We use the water from our natural lake, which fills up every year with rainwater collected by means of irrigation canals and drainage pipes and water from a spring higher up on the farm. We also have several of our own wells on the farm. When our crops need water, we irrigate with motors powered by photovoltaic energy from our solar panels. Our irrigation plant, machinery warehouse and laboratory are located in an old barn that has been refurbished.
Our lake is home to geese, ducks and carp, which help us keep the water free of dirt that damages the micro-sprinklers used to water our trees.
In short, we've worked for more than eight years on modernising its facilities and boosting its efficiency without losing any of its essence and original layout. The Hayward kiwi doesn't need to be covered with mesh at the moment, although we're studying the option of installing it due to possible weather events such as summer storms, which can sometimes result in major crop losses.
Our team is made up of Catia, the agricultural technician who is in charge of technical management, fertilisation plans with natural compounds, irrigation times, pest control and monitoring of the plants' nutritional values. Then we have Tiago, the farm manager, who implements the guidelines set by Catia and leads the rest of the team in tasks such as thinning, pruning, harvesting or supplying the materials needed to work on the farm. The farm also has a house where the wardens Morgan and Kenia live, who are in charge of daily functions on the land. Our farm wouldn't run properly without our team, so we look after them well and provide better working conditions than those required by the collective agreement.