Saturday, 26 May 2012

Enjoy The Farm

One of our horses on the farm wanting some fuss

 The 8 hectare organic farm which surrounds the hotel clings on the side of a small mountain with beautiful views.  We’ve always tried to run the farm as a commercial holding and although it doesn’t make much money it generates sufficient income to pay for its own maintenance.  We produce cider apples for juice and cider, keep sheep for breeding and meat, and produce fruit and vegetables for the hotel restaurant. 

New signs on the farm trail

But as well as being a “commercial enterprise” the farm is also there for guests to enjoy; to wander round and relax, learn about sustainable and traditional production techniques or just have contact with nature and sustainable food production. We have a farm trail which takes you round the farm and this season we have put up new signs and small information boards to help people enjoy the experience.

One of the hay meadows

Heart Flowered Serapias

There are about 1,5 Has of traditional hay meadows which at this time of year are stunning; a collage of color with so many different wild flowers (we’ve recorded over 350 species of flora on the farm.) With this diversity of flowers comes a huge variety of butterflies which are a joy to watch fluttering around in the sun.   

Marbled White butterfly

Our Xalda sheep

Then there are the black and white xalda sheep happily grazing under the apple trees and tending to their playful lambs. The higher meadows are rockier and reminiscent of a mountain farm, the lower meadows more sheltered with a small forest and stream. Whilst walking around you may also come across our two Asturcon ponies which help with the grazing and pasture maintenance

Observing the flowers from the path

Although we want guests to enjoy themselves as much as possible on the farm we also ask them to collaborate and help make it easier for us to manage the farm.  For example we cut small paths through our wild flower meadows for guests to walk along and we ask guests to keep to these paths. This is because we cut the meadows by hand and if the grass is trampled on it’s very much more difficult to cut. With our flock of xalda sheep we have a white and black sheep dog which is there to protect the sheep and their lambs from predators (mainly foxes.) If guests start to fuss the dog she will start to abandon the sheep to come to look for fuss so we ask guests to ignore the dog.

The chickens waiting for some left overs!

We do have other animals on the farm which guests can fuss; such as the chickens which follow you every where hoping to be fed some leftovers, and then there are the cats which certainly love having their tummies tickled. Of the two horses you can stroke one of them whilst the other is a little more cautious of people, but a care is needed as they are both still half wild!

Guests investigating the vegetable garden

Funnily enough the most visited place on the farm is the vegetable garden and I suppose this reflects the growing interest in home grown vegetables.  In the vegetable garden we practice a bed system with a 4 year rotation, we do as little digging as possible and mulch as much as possible. The results are there to be seen in the vegetable garden as well as to be tasted in the restaurant. Come and enjoy the farm

Information on composting

1 comment:

Ian and Luis said...

The signs look great.


Hotel Posada del Valle is a small hotel in Asturias Northern Spain surrounded by its own organic farm and where we are passionate about organic farming, food, and sustainable livelihoods. In this Blog those of us who live and work at Hotel Posada del Valle open a door to share with all of you who are interested in what we are doing.