Finca Isla Rubí is located in the province of Valencia between the towns of Gandía and Cullera, 800 metres from the Mediterranean Sea and at an altitude of 3 metres. Since 2012, I've had the privilege of looking after the farm.
Its name comes from when it was first planted with Wonderful and Mollar pomegranates. Locals and passers-by were amazed at the 'island' formed by a pomegranate farm with its distinctive red fruits among a sea of orange, mandarin and grapefruit blossom.
The farm has unique characteristics such as its soil, which is very sandy and requires more frequent but less abundant drip irrigation, because the sand retains little water. The irrigation on our farm varies from year to year, normally starting on a daily basis from June onwards, with two short irrigation procedures, one in the morning and one at night, with water from the farm's well. Our pomegranates consume approximately 600 litres of water per year, although this depends on the conditions each year. For most of the year, we let the grass grow on our farm, until we mow it with a tractor or cut it manually in the hot months, leaving it on the ground to protect the soil from the sun and prevent the evaporation of irrigation water.
The climate is temperate for most of the year, with a hot summer (but less hot than inland regions thanks to the sea breeze).
Our farm is located 800 metres from the Mediterranean Sea, between Cullera and Gandía. We're currently refurbishing the facilities of the farm, both for producing juice and for welcoming visitors. When you come to visit your tree, we'll greet you with a glass of healthy 'La Imperfecta' pomegranate juice to make you instantly feel at home.
Dew remains on the ground until late in the morning on many spring and summer days. There are no major changes in temperature between night and day, which makes it difficult for our pomegranates to take on a very intense colour. What's more, the skin is a little bit thinner, which makes it more prone to cracking, while the friction of the fruit and the branches leaves marks on the pomegranates. This purely aesthetic aspect has held my fruit back from entering the traditional markets. However, it’s very flavoursome, smooth and juicy, so if you don't buy fruit purely for appearance, I'm sure you're going to love it!
In order to minimise food waste, I decided to create a natural pomegranate juice, taking advantage of all the fruit that can't be marketed. The Wonderful variety has structure, body and a subtle bitterness, while the Mollar variety ('La Imperfecta') has sweetness, finesse and silkiness. Once the juice production process is over, the by-products (especially the skins) are mixed with the pruning remains and manure to make our own compost, meaning that we close the entire circle.
On the farm, I currently have the invaluable help of my wife and two other men, apart from myself. Of course, at specific times such as harvesting, I expand the workforce by contracting temporary workers. It was my decision for the wages to be above the current wages in farming. Thanks to our hard work, I hope that our team will be able to grow in the next few years.
Due to the influence of the workers and partners, some from Cuba, I recently incorporated an organic guava plantation into the farm, which this year has started to bear fruit (less than 1,000 kg). In the next few years, production will increase to 40,000 kg. Now you have another reason and another excuse to visit us and discover the Mediterranean guava, or 'Amara' as I've christened it.