Autumn Event: Inspired by OLIVES

We woke on the morning of the Autumn Open Event to a most beautiful sky!

Warm open-hearted welcomes as folks arrived…..

A group of over 40 came through out the day – we started with the group who came in the morning to do tours of the land…..

We had a mixed bunch, of people who have visited before, and for others it was their first encounter with the project.

The tours were in English, ‘lead’ by Eric and Emma – and the second in Portuguese with Marcia.

Thanks to the team of angel helpers we had a delicious lunch, with veggies from the garden and inspired by the olive theme and fermented recipies from Dearbhla Reynolds book, ‘Funky Ferments’.

The olive oil tasting was great fun – as we decided upon our favourites…..

Most people had a sure sense of what they ‘didn’t like’. It was amazing that neigbour Nick was ‘spot on’ with his diagnosis!

Then the ‘experts’ gave their feedback…..

We had with us professional organic olive oil producers. Luis Coutinho with his brand ‘Tojeira’ has received much attention for its high quality. Also with us, the engineer Joao Mateus with nearly 20 years experience in working with the Portuguese ministry of agriculture and most recently with Sementes Vivas.

We also had the pleasure of the experience of Miguel Fiadeiro, from the Olive Oil Co-operative in Fundao. Miguel shared and answered questions regarding the differences between the methods of pressing olives, amongst many other things!

Conversations continued about the need for a local organic press, and various solutions were discussed.

After much sharing, we got up and picked olives to demonstrate the method we use for curing our olives. One we learned from our local neighbours over 10 years ago!

As we were harvesting a few olives, out neighbour, Tia Adelina’s son, Antonio came passed – it was his MUM who had such an influence on much of what we know now about olives! It was a lovely moment.

Back in the common space, Marica demonstrated the curing process, and the knowledgeable Sr. Eduardo gave some great and easy tips.

The rest of the afternoon we carried on sharing about olive oil production and best practices while enjoying each other’s company!

We had the delight of having Stefan and Bettina of Sementes Vivas with us. They too have been promoting organic and biodynamic production of olive oil. They shared about an upcoming conference on the theme of ‘New Ruralism’. They are bringing together many of the best-known names in the world of rural development and sustainable construction. The link to the conference can be found by clicking on ‘events’ from here

Thank you to all who came and participated, shared knowledge or bought our olive oil inspired products!

Until next year….!

Homegrown Local Markets

The development of a local sustainable economy has been a focus of the Mount of Oaks community since inception. We have the priviledge of living in a area where farmers still farm and produce fruit and vegetables. We have local farmers markets twice a week in Fundao – and there we can buy from a few producers who consciously do not use chemicals to fertilise their crops.

However, we have been meeting with folks interested in promoting the cultivation and consumption of organic produce for a long period of time – and some of the results of these connections can be seen in the projects that have been emerging over the last months.

(photos from Castelo Novo 2.0)

SO far there have been 4 very successful local markets on farms in our area and 3 markets in the historic village of Castelo Novo, just up the road from where we live.

The markets in Castelo Novo are promoted and organised by a local association called ‘Castelo Novo 2.0’ whose aim is to bring life back into the historic village. Ines and Hugo have been working very hard to promote the village and the local economy.

Markets Movement springing up from the Land!

Alongside the monthly markets in Castelo Novo we have been involved in promoting the little ‘Land Markets’. These have been happening on the 3rd Saturday every month since the first in April. The main person to thank in this movement is the kind, wise and beautiful Fransisco from the organisation, Ananda Marga.

The markets have been opportunities for real social interaction between the ‘new communities’ and the local Portuguese population. Alongside the selling of fruit, veggies, herbal teas, nuts, fermented drinks there has been a part of promoting well being. Keri comes and sells her chemical-free cosmetics, Laura and Joy have given massage, Kimberly and Dalia have instructed yoga practice.

We have really been enjoying transforming our herbs into beautiful tea mixes, selling our cured olives, tangerine cordial, soaps and other produce! We are learning by doing and coming up with some good recipes.

The next ‘Land Market’ is here, Mount of Oaks on 19th August, from 9am-12noon.

There will be at least 15 stalls, a kids area and also the opportunity to practice yoga (starts at 9am, bring your own mat and be prepared to leave a donation for laura)

The invite and more info in Portuguese and English about the market can be found hereĀ 

Coming next!

In the next blog about the local markets we will share more about the possibility of an association emerging to promote the markets, education and growth of sustainable local farming.

So far 4 different types of markets!

Bi-weekly Farmers Market in Fundao on Mondays and Saturdays

1st Saturday of the month – ‘Eco Mercado’ in the village of Castelo Novo

3rd Saturday of the month – ‘Mercadinho da Terra’ which happen in different farms in the Fundao district.

Quarterly Local Ecomony Fair – using alternative currency in Covilha