these are the posts tagged ‘tavira’:


the fruit tree collection

so tavira has an “experimental agrarian center” (CEAT), which is a very low-key place with an important mission: it helps local farmers get started and learn more about all kinds of things related with agriculture. like many places in algarve, tavira is a town that lives mostly off tourism, but the more you move away from the coast and into hills, the more you see a kind of dryland subsistence farming that is hard but so important to people’s lives in these villages.

so as part of its mission, the center started a gigantic project to research and collect specimens from the local varieties of fruit trees, which they maintain in a specific area — a seed bank of sorts, but with actual living trees. in the last decade, they have collected hundreds of cultivars of citrus trees (the main crop around here), as well as carob, almond or figs, but also things that you might not expect like specific southern portuguese grapevines, loquats, pomegranate or “pêro de monchique”. researching these species in the region involved talking to a lot of farmers and then doing genetic analysis to identify the differences between certain plants, to make sure they are actually unique cultivars (and not just the same tree with a different name).

so after specimens are collected, they’re brought to tavira where they are further studied and serve as a reference for the future, in case something happens or someone is interested in the local species of these trees. want to know which plants are best for your land, or how much production you can expect from a certain cultivar? they can tell you! want to produce a special wine that is labeled as being from algarve’s region? you’ll need to make sure you’re using the right grapes… guess who you can ask about that?

walking the grounds and looking at all these trees in their neat rows, you get the sense that this is not only an invaluable genetic repository for the future, but also a huge work of love, spread out over many square meters. unlike a static museum collection, this one is alive and needs constant care and attention if it is to fulfill its purpose, and i’m really glad for the humans doing this work.

folhado de tavira

you know when things look rather promising and then they turn out to be a disappointment?

yeah. i wanted *so much* to like the cake that bears our new hometown’s name… but in the end, it just wasn’t all that great. i’ve tried it twice now, thinking that perhaps the first try had been a fluke — but i couldn’t finish it in either of the attempts, so i think it’s a lost cause for me.

one has to wonder though, what is the point of a folhado (or puff pastry) that is so saturated in syrup as to ruin all its flakiness and turn it unto an unrecognizable soggy mess? :| why would you do that?

when our friend F came to visit a couple of months ago, he pointed to some in a café and asked what they were made of. the person behind the counter replied “sugar!” and left it at that.

i guess if you like eating sugar, this is good stuff. :D

walking on history, XI: a really old tree

when i started this walking on history series, i was inspired by all the sidewalk memorials we stumbled upon in berlin. but what about other kinds of history… like natural history?

there’s this olive tree a couple of towns over, in the middle of a touristic resort by the ria formosa. it’s huge and gnarly and falling apart a bit, the trunk wide and open enough to fit someone inside. and it’s also mind-blowing…

…because it’s one of the oldest trees in the world, with over 2200 years old. just let that sink in for a minute.

this tree was here before the visigoths invaded the peninsula from the north, before the moors took their place from the south, before the christians kicked them out. when portugal officially came to existence in the 12th century, this tree was already a thousand years old, bearing fruit and witness to it all. it “saw” the first sailors leaving towards the unknown a few centuries later, saw the empire rise and fall… and these days, it mostly sees tourists and hears their children’s laughter, splashing in the nearby pool.

it’s still here after all these years, like it’s always been, stretching our perspective of time and making us feel tiny in comparison. a few years ago, we planted a small olive tree on our backyard and now i wonder how long (hundreds of years? thousands?) it’ll live and what things it’ll see. i guess we’ll never know… and i’m ok with that. :)

analogue wednesday #65

cat on roof

dog on roof

i see a trend!

analogue wednesday #64

by the sea
by the sea

the first roll with the lca… more experimentation required!