The flora at Cortijo el Puerto (trees, shrubs and vegetation cover) are the backbone of the farm, the basis of our ecosystem. All plants are prepared to capture solar energy, thereby feeding other species, increasing pollination and producing healthy food (olive oil and almonds) for human consumption. In the end of the cycle, our herd of Cornicabra sheep clears the vegetation cover and we return the organic matter to the soil, helping decomposition and mantaining this life cycle of the food chain.
In order to obtain the best results for our flora, we have analyzed the whole surface of the land to be cultivated, studied the essence of the soil, planted wood crops using GPS, and sought the most favorable plant associations for the vegetation cover.
Vegetation cover fulfills four objectives:
- First, it covers 100% of the surface of the farm, nourishing the soil
- Second, staggered flowering: we have chosen flowers that bloom throughout the year, in order to help the farm’s fauna
- Third, it promotes biodiversity
- Fourth, it attracts outside wildlife and avoid contamination of neighbouring farms.
Olives, almonds, citrus … and much more
Trees are the foundation of Cortijo el Puerto, the base of the estate. The plantations of wood crops are oriented to produce exceptional foods (oil, almonds, oranges) for human consumption. They are carefully selected traditional and innovative varieties of olives and almonds, resulting from Research, Development and Innovation (R & D), cultivated with ecological techniques and precision agriculture.
OLIVES. EVOO high quality
Cortijo El Puerto has full confidence in the olive grove! Our commitment has been to cultivate traditional and innovative varieties of combining R & D techniques such as hedgrow system and organic production: plantations of olive Arbosana, Arbequina, Picual, Picuda, Hojiblanca, Koroneiki, Cornicabra, Oliana (A World Premiere) Cacereña and Chiquitita. The diversity of trees, with olives ripening at various times, allows us to collect each variety at the optimum moment, in harmony with the environment, when the oil achieves its maximum character and nutritional value. This plurality allows us to plan the harvest, reduce production time, and grind the olives step by step, obtaining only the highest-quality Premium Extra Virgin Olive Oil. We strive for total quality, to improve the agricultural cultivation through our innovations. We have been pioneers in the logistics of the harvest (including the nocturnal collection of six different oils). In the presentation of our olive oils too, we innovate in big format for gourmet oil, vacuum packaging with a reduced carbon footprint, and Braille labelling to help the blind. The original interrelationship between animals and plants of the ecosystem is also reflected in our award-winning packaging for the Granja collection of six single-variety EVOOs.
ALMOND TREES. Our bet: hedgerow system for almond trees
Along with our olive trees, the almond tree is the most important crop at Cortijo el Puerto. We are the first plantation in Andalusia using hedgerow system and “dwarfing patterns” for almond trees. We have selected new species, in addition to the classic ones, as a result of our experience with planting hedgerow system and with Research and Development (R&D). The new varieties of rootstocks confer a reduced vigor to almond tree varieties such as lauranne, belona, soleta, guara and ferraduel, allowing the correct management of the cropping system and its harvesting with harvester. The objective is an ecological almond of high quality, in fruit with late blooming and autofertile. In addition to the flowering of the almond tree we increase the presence of hives, reinforced with Bombus terrestris bumblebees as an extra method of pollination in adverse conditions.
CITRUS FRUITS. R&D CITRUS FRUITS
Citrus fruits came to the Mediterranean long ago originally coming from the East and perhaps brought to Spain by the Romans. Although it was the Arabs who developed citrus cultivation in “al-Andalus”. They used them to prepare sauces and our culture still loves the scent of citrus trees. Cortijo el Puerto is very satisfied with the orange-tree production, because we are close to a town where there are orchards and fruit trees in abundance, and oranges are one of its main wood crops grown on irrigated land. In addition, we love preserving the local agricultural knowledge from the La Vega (The Valley). Nevertheless we wanted to bring our added value to this crop, and so we are researching traditional citrus trees!
Hedgerow system for oranges, tangerines, lemons and different citrus plants to verify the behaviour of the tree according to varieties and conditions of origin. In short, we will report our test results. Along the way, we promote biodiversity and we delight in the perfume of the delicate orange blossom (Azahar).
OTHERS. Pistachios, figs…
In the ecosystem of Cortijo el Puerto in addition to olive and almond trees, our “star trees”, we have extras for other “parallel plots”: pistachios, figs, pomegranates, quinces, vineyard, red fruits… to enjoy self consumption and to contribute to increase biodiversity.
The silent ally
The perimeter of the farm Cortijo el Puerto, 9.2 kilometers long, is formed by a ring of one hundred thousand bushes. Protected palm hearts, lavender, myrtle, rosemary and other Mediterranean species have been selected with staggered flowering cycles; in addition delimiting the farm, they fulfill a double mission:
- First, to protect against wind and possible toxic drifts from adjoining farms
- Second, they attract insects to circulate through the extensive internal network of biodiversity “pathways” with more than seventy thousand shrubs,more than three hundred different species with staggered flowering cycles. A slow-food speed circuit for “arthropod-foreign travelers” to cross the freeways of wild species or ecological corridors, rest on the woody stems, the oval or fan leaves and the flexible branches of the bushes. They can recharge energy and regain their strength in the succulent flower beds restaurants and stay in our five-star Hotels for insects.
Thanks for contributing to the stable tourism in our particular coast of an Andalusian Cortijo!
Grasses, cruciferous vegetables, legumes… and more
In Cortijo el Puerto the rows of olive and almond trees and the entire surface of the farm are protected with a vegetation cover grown from carefully selected native seeds. The result is an environmental restoration project that uses herbaceous crops to protect the soil and create food and shelter for the auxiliary fauna. For each coverage area, we select the best organic species from the Iberian Peninsula – mainly grasses, cruciferous vegetables and legumes combined with rows of flowers in the center. We create seed mixtures especially for each area, according to soil characteristics and location, type of crop, optimal timing and any particular agricultural problems. Among the objectives of the vegetation cover are to revitalize the potential contribution of useful flora in agriculture, to create the most beneficial environment for each of our crops, and to get them to become self-fertilizing in future years. In short, we seek to restore the natural biodiversity for our agricultural crops, to recover the dream ecosystem.
GRASSES: ALLIES AGAINST EROSION
In Cortijo el Puerto, the ground is covered with grasses (bromus) in order to control erosion, one of the great dangers posed by climate change. Along with legumes and cruciferous vegetables, grasses complete a perfect team of vegetation covers that are highly beneficial for our environment.
Grasses protect the soil from water erosion and other external agents such as wind, although they are not recommended in isolation because they consuming nitrogen.
CRUCIFERAE: EXPERTS IN POTASSIUM
In Cortijo el Puerto we control the verticilosis of the olive tree with vegetation covers of cruciferous vegetablves like the white mustard (sinapis alba). Who could ask for more from a plant? …
Cruciferae recover nutrients and green fertilizer because of their high content of organic matter. They prevent the leaching of nitrogen and they draw up nutrients (especially potassium) from the deeper layers of the soil thanks to their powerful roots, which also promote water infiltration and the decomposition of the soil. They also generate a large amount of biomass, for use as green fertilizer on the surface or as a biofumigant when buried deeper down.
LEGUMES: SOURCE OF NITROGEN
In Cortijo el Puerto, the vegetation cover of grasses and legumes controls erosion and improves the fertility of the soil. Excellent association of seeds in cover for healthy soils and healthy lives!
The legumes (veza) fix atmospheric nitrogen and fertilize the rest of the species. They are creeping and their combined use with grasses generates a perfect symbiosis: the grass acts as a guide and prevents soil erosion, while the fabaceae provide the necessary nitrogen and attract the auxiliary fauna with their flowering.
OTHERS. IN LOVE WITH FLOWER BEDS!
In Cortijo el Puerto, flower beds (meliferas) are planted down the center of the rows of vegetation cover. Through this association/juxtaposition of different species we have managed to protect the soil and generate biodiversity and to keep the fauna auxiliary. We combine host plants for biological control, with other food source species for insects beneficial to agriculture.
A palette of different colours that increases the available habitat for the auxiliary fauna! A bright spectacle among the rows of almond and olive trees: the trees are adorned with foliated leaves and blue bell-shaped flowers in clusters of phacelia; bands dotted with the yellow flowers of the sinapis alba (white mustard) and the blue shades of borage … a bridal bouquet worthy of our queen bee!