Our farm is named Fuentillezjos, a name steeped in history, it has Arab roots, who inhabited these lands centuries ago. Its meaning is “creeks land”. The farm lies in between two ancient volcanoes as we are located in the Campo de Calatrava, one of the three main volcanic regions of the Iberian Peninsula. It is a very quiet territory, no noise, no rush and a changing landscape according to the season of the year. A scenery ranging from Autumn brownish tones to the green of Spring, not to mention the characteristic yellow of La Mancha’s rigorous summer.
The farms surroundings are the dominion of volcanoes, the Guadiana river. Some small villages are scattered across this part of La Mancha. The extensive farming that we do, requires land and soil in order to graze and to have a rich feeding. We actually grow for them cereals on dry lands (barley and oats) and fodder be it vetch, alfalfa, peas or straw (oats straw). Half of the farm is to grow the feeding of the sheep, the other half is natural meadows, brushwood and scrubland where the sheep graze throughout the year. They can find feeding such as wild Mediterranean flowers in Spring or kermes oak, juniper, lavender, rock rose, thyme, rosemary, holm oak and asparagus plant all year round. The crops land is around 100 hectares and the wild bushland and forest around 150 hectares.
Besides the respect for the land and the sheep, other essential focal point for us is respect to the people. Thus, our project seeks to keep population and jobs in rural areas. We are in one of the most impoverished zones in Europe. We aim to contribute to this region development, to maintain economic activity in a highly deserted province of Spain alongside with the protection of traditional jobs and the protection of wild fauna and flora. Our staff is made up to an 80% of women.
We are aware of the importance of energy efficiency. For this reason, we have set up a system to make the most of the energy we need to do the cheese. Basically, when we heat the milk, part of that heat is not lost but transferred to the floor of the offices, which have a radiant floor heating system for winter and cooling system for summer. We just change the water circuit so that we always have the correct room temperature throughout the year. We also have a pre-installation of solar energy, which will allow us to be self-sufficient in the near future in terms of power supply.
We are 5 in the dairy, 3 women and 2 men. David is our affineur, he knows everything about cheese; Leticia is in charge of preparing orders and have the cheese delivered to your home. Rebeca helps Leticia with the orders and is also responsible for the cleaning. Mario answers the phone and he deals with customers, marketing and, together with me, the public relations and customer care team. Finally, there is me: Concha, helping David with the making of the cheese, helping Leticia with orders and sometimes with Mario in the office. I do a bit of everything.
Leticia has been working here for 5 years, she came to do a university internship and she decided to stay and start her career at the farm. Mario has been here for a similar period of time, we met at the chamber of commerce of the town. Rebeca has been with us in the farm for 3 years and David came 2 years ago, since 2019, when we finished the construction of a brand-new dairy, although the farm is much older. Everyone gets a decent wage and the staff has flexible working hours as well.
At Fuentillezjos we make a big effort to minimise all waste and we recycle milk by-products on a circular economy basis. The fertiliser for the crops that we grow for the feeding of the sheep is just the manure they produce. We do fertilise naturally every year in September and October, before sowing only with our manure.