The farm Doña Amor owes its name to its location, Doña Amor. Our parents referred to this area that way and we decided to keep the name which we've always known it by. It’s located in la Bóveda de Toro (Zamora), in the Guareña region, very close to the river Duero. Our farm can be found within a protected natural area of Natura 2000 (Special Bird Protection Area) called “Las Llanuras del Guareña'' known for hosting important populations of steppe birds like bustards, grey eaglets and little bustards. The farm is full of life and truly organic, visited by animals such as partridges, hares, rabbits, foxes, wild boar, snakes and voles. The farm is only 23km away from Toro and part of the Duero-Duoro route.
The farm is 27 hectares wide and at 748 meters above level. 7,000 trees of the “Kerman” and the “Lost Hills” varieties grow there. These varieties are known for the size of their fruits, their intense flavor and the whiteness of their shell.
Being a dioecious plant, there are two types of trees: the pollinating male and the producing female tree. In between we plant covering leguminous plants each year to avoid erosion, keep nitrogen, build up organic matter in our soil and serve as a refuge for animals and insects.
Doña Amor is exposed to excellent climatic conditions for this kind of cultivation which requires long and warm summers and cold winters as well as strong winds in the flowering season to assure the pollination of all trees. The Toro region meets all of these requirements and thus ensures an excellent quality of our pistachios.
What's more, to guarantee an excellent harvest, we have an innovative solar-powered irrigation and fertigation system. We can control irrigation from any device with an Internet connection, thereby optimising the consumption of both energy and water. We use sensors to measure humidity and a mobile-enabled weather station that gives us data on precipitation levels, wind speed and direction, humidity and atmospheric pressure. Our trees consume approximately 3,490 litres each per year. In addition to irrigation and fertigation, the solar energy generated means that our facilities are energy self-sufficient.
We're a zero-waste company and we strive towards waste reuse. For example, the pruning remains are crushed and incorporated into the soil as organic matter. The hard shells of the closed pistachios are crushed and then used as an exfoliating material for cosmetics. Furthermore, we use smaller or mottled pistachios to make other products such as cream or oil. Meanwhile, we take advantage of the manure produced at an extensive sheep farm in the village to make compost that we use as a base fertiliser.
Our farming project is based on:
1. __Innovation:__ We use new agricultural technologies. Moreover, renewable energy is used for our intelligent irrigation system as well as for self-consumption in our facilities. In doing so we optimize the use of resources.
2. We are working according to the guidelines of __organic farming practices__ and are in the final year of transition towards receiving the organic farming certificate. This way we care for and protect the environment.
3. __Circular economy:__ We value all residues generated on our farm. We organize our resources in the most efficient way possible and are free of petrol-based plastics.
My husband and I work full time, and our children help us out when they can. We have Ricardo's help throughout the year. More labour is required on certain occasions, so we temporarily contract two people to help us with tasks such as pruning, grafting, picking, etc. We always try to hire locals, as the area is severely affected by rural depopulation. In addition, our idea is to extend the contracts over time. To carry out the packaging of our pistachios, we also hire an external company, which works with a wide range of employees to perform this task. At Doña Amor, not only do we comply with the employment requirements established by the collective agreement, but we actually improve them.