Peregrino is 10 hectares in the Spanish province of Tarragona. A couple of hours drive from Barcelona, just over 300km from the French border, it falls within an area of Catalunya. They call it Terra Alta, the high ground.
What we saw in 2009
Views to a far horizon, air and soil unspoiled by chemicals.
Tio Alex was always crazy about keeping it natural, and our intention has always been to go organic.
A fresh place, left in peace and long untouched, uncleared, unworked? Then we must touch with care, work with diligence, clear with wisdom.
The farm is high up, and there are plenty of winds. Spain is a leader in wind power – those huge white 3-armed windmills that create energy. Almost 50 % of our nation’s power now comes from wind.
A line of these windmills has begun its march across our region. And to do this they have to get all their heavy machinery there. So the roads have been upgraded, and now we have deep-surfaced, wider roads to within 1 km of the farm.
The land flows down into the valley, laid out in terraces supported by long-established stone walls.
A cabin stands at the centre of the valleys, together with a half-tumbled down building and an aljibe – a stone-built water catchment.
The farm is planted with hazelnuts, a major crop in the area. I can’t remember exactly how many there are- Abuelo would know. (I think it’s 900).
Almond trees still blossom as in forgotten harvest times, while wild vines and figs are scattered at random.
The steepest slopes are covered with pines at the high points, and these graduate down to wild thyme, rosemary, lavender and myriad bushes in the lower sections.
We brought the machines in to our own roads too:
The top entrance to the farm when the first road had been cut.
They are laying a massive irrigation system in the area, and our application goes in.
We clear a bancal in the top area and lay irrigation pipes, then plant the first season of vegetables.
– Clean out the cabin, and begin to use it for storage.
– Pick enough almonds off just one tree to last all season.
– Keep finding old ‘things’ on the land – a grinding wheel, an old sled wagon, a door that must have a story . .
The horses have all the space on the farm to roam. The ups and downs don’t bother them – not even the babies.
Cristiano – born chestnut, he will end up grey.
– Clear ground and plant a double terrace of young olives.
– Plant a few each of cherry, apple and pear trees next to the vegetable garden.
The connection point for irrigation water is in place!