NFU Mutual Smallholding Insurance

Author Topic: Farming in Mallorca and Spain  (Read 151 times)

macgro7

  • Joined Feb 2016
Farming in Mallorca and Spain
« on: November 03, 2019, 10:23:56 am »
Hello everyone!
We came back from a holiday in Mallorca couple of weeks ago!
It's amazing how different the climate is only 2 hours flights away from England!
In mid October average temperatures are still in mid 20s! They do have winter almost as cold as South of England but it only lasts couple of months - unlike us who have to wear winter coats for almost 6 months a year!
We saw plenty of sheep over there - but almost no grass!!! They used to keep a lot of goats back in the days as the conditions are perfect - lots of shrubs, not much rain (most in winter).
They grow oranges, lemons, quince, pomegranates, almonds, walnuts, sweet chestnuts, watermelons and lots of other delicious fruits and vegetables we can only dream of growing over hear (well some grow but never fruit or fruit don't fully ripen).

Anyone have any experience of living and farming over the Balearic Islands or Spain in general?
Growing loads of fruits and vegetables! Raising dairy goats, chickens, ducks, geese rabbits and a little boy on 1/2 acre in the middle of the city of Leicester, using permaculture methods.
Voss Electric Fence

pgkevet

  • Joined Jul 2011
Re: Farming in Mallorca and Spain
« Reply #1 on: November 03, 2019, 11:05:35 am »
I had a friend that moved over there and ran a tourist company; quad-biking  cross country etc. Back about 15 yrs ago he wrote to me telling me that the oranges were being left to rot because of labour costs and eu deals.
I believe it's wrong for us to import stuff we can grow well enough here... the walnuts and chestnuts and probably there might be quite successful almond varieties. And why the heck to we import hazelnuts?
You forgot figs and in the more southerly parts of spain you should be into bananas too and of course olives and grapes.

The problem with growing fruit is economies of scale to sell the damned stuff unless there is a local co-operative system or government intervention buying (the later is how it's done jamaica for coffee and coconut so you can sell your crop). Hand picking fruit limits the one man band and if seasonal then the obvious problem of needing seasonal help unless you can work a rotation. Mechansiation needs economy of scale or an area again where such machinery is shared. (did I hear that they vacuum pick the olives these days, wildlife and all and pick the dead birdies out after)



macgro7

  • Joined Feb 2016
Re: Farming in Mallorca and Spain
« Reply #2 on: November 03, 2019, 11:24:26 am »
Yes figs and wild olives are growing like weeds - literally like sycamore around here!
Bananas are major crop in canary islands - but that Africa actually.
There's more tropical fruits like avocados and papaya too.
I grew almonds quite well in Leicester till my stupid goat was trying to climb up the tree and snapped it near the base and therefore killed it...
A lot of land has been ABANDONED all around Spain because young people can make better money working in Hotels (it's the case in Poland as well actually) but at least that means land is cheap - unlike UK where prices are ridiculous.
Mallorca is generally more expensive the  other parts of Spain but it's still cheaper than most of UK.
And the best thing is - the entire island has NO FOXES!!! You can see chickens running everywhere, free ranging in the fields till after dark, even in some town on streets. Another reason why I liked this particular island lol
Hardly any cows though - not enough good quality grass - in Sommer it never rains for 3 months - and this year it was particularly dry.

Back in the days the Moors used to grow rice all over Mallorca but today it's a minority smallholder crop.
They do grow wheat barley and oats as well. The soil is mostly clay with a lot of lime and stones so a bit tricky.
« Last Edit: November 03, 2019, 11:31:18 am by macgro7 »
Growing loads of fruits and vegetables! Raising dairy goats, chickens, ducks, geese rabbits and a little boy on 1/2 acre in the middle of the city of Leicester, using permaculture methods.

doganjo

  • Joined Aug 2012
  • Clackmannanshire
  • Qui? Moi?
    • ABERDON GUNDOGS for work and show
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Re: Farming in Mallorca and Spain
« Reply #3 on: November 03, 2019, 12:01:02 pm »
(did I hear that they vacuum pick the olives these days, wildlife and all and pick the dead birdies out after)
I have a friend in Mallorca - yes they vacuum the olives but they shout and scream first to scare the birds etc away, and the machines are noisy so there are few birds killed.  So she tells me anyway.
Always have been, always will be, a WYSIWYG - black is black, white is white - no grey in my life! But I'm mellowing in my old age

Womble

  • Joined Mar 2009
  • Stirlingshire, Central Scotland
Re: Farming in Mallorca and Spain
« Reply #4 on: November 03, 2019, 12:25:33 pm »
And the best thing is - the entire island has NO FOXES!!! You can see chickens running everywhere


Islay is the same though - just wetter and windier  ;D .


Have you ever read any of Chris Stewart's "Driving over Lemons" series of books? If not, I highly recommend them as a lovely escapist read, and a way of getting a feel for what life is like as British / Spanish peasant farmer! I really must re-read them myself some time, now I know a bit more about smallholding.
"All fungi are edible. Some fungi are only edible once." -Terry Pratchett

doganjo

  • Joined Aug 2012
  • Clackmannanshire
  • Qui? Moi?
    • ABERDON GUNDOGS for work and show
    • Facebook
Re: Farming in Mallorca and Spain
« Reply #5 on: November 03, 2019, 01:11:44 pm »
There's three of them - a trilogy.  Haven't read any but sounds interesting  My friends run a Spanish Wedding business in Andalucia - have retired back to England now but manage it from here.  No idea why they came back to be honest.  Missed the local pub i was told :roflanim: :roflanim: :roflanim:
Always have been, always will be, a WYSIWYG - black is black, white is white - no grey in my life! But I'm mellowing in my old age

macgro7

  • Joined Feb 2016
Re: Farming in Mallorca and Spain
« Reply #6 on: November 03, 2019, 02:49:19 pm »
Most people come back for NHS or to be close to family - definitelly not because they miss rain and clouds lol
There are sooo many English pubs in Spain - especially Mallorca and Andalucia.
Growing loads of fruits and vegetables! Raising dairy goats, chickens, ducks, geese rabbits and a little boy on 1/2 acre in the middle of the city of Leicester, using permaculture methods.

 

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