Wednesday, 21 May 2008

Spring Harvests

After the driest winter on record we are now having one of the wettest springs. Although some of the guests might think otherwise it does have some good points. The meadows are lusher than ever, summer water restrictions seem highly improbable and the vegetable garden is producing some bumper crops. Mange tout is still in abundance along with broad beans, artichokes, and some lovely new potatoes which we have been harvesting for the last 3 weeks.

While I (Nigel) work hard on the land Joe awakes from a much deserved siesta.

Saturday, 17 May 2008

Last of the Apple Blossom

This weekend is the apple blossom weekend in Villaviciosa, the major cider producing region in Asturias. On our farm the apple blossom is coming to an end. We have a total of seven different Asturian cider apple varieties and the last variety to come into flower is “Limon Montes” or mountain lemon which is flowering now. The first variety to flower was “Coloradina” or large coloured which started flowering on our farm at the beginning of April.

Apart from having different flowering times (and harvesting times) the 7 varieties of cider apple we have all have different eating qualities and are classified as acid, bitter, or sweet. Having the correct mix of these different tastes and flavours is what helps to make an excellent cider, or in our case apple juice

Wednesday, 7 May 2008

Mange tout tout les jour

As we grow most of our vegetables we eat and serve what’s in season. Sometimes we get a good regular supply of the desired vegetables; however there are times when we can get rather inundated. I always blame it on the weather it’s never due to me planting too much of a particular crop or lack of successional sowing.

So when those gluts come that’s when Joe’s creative cooking skills come in to their own and she thinks of how many different ways you can prepare…. well at the moment mange tout!

Since the beginning of April there hasn’t been one single day when Mange tout haven’t appeared in the evening meal in one form or the other. And do you know what? I haven’t seen one single mange tout left on anyone’s plate through out that whole time. So they cant be that bad!

Friday, 2 May 2008

Sheep Shearing

With spring in full blossom and the warmer temperatures arriving, its time to shear the sheep. We normally try to do this mid to late April the actual date depending on when our sheep shearer Angel can come. Yes Angel is a Spanish name, and he certainly is a god send, as I wouldn’t want to have shear 30 odd sheep during the day and then put a smile on for guests in the evening!

He came today with his small trailer attached to his car and by eight in the morning had his work shop set up by our stable. The sheep don’t appear to mind having their coats taken off, even if they have to be put in some rather un-lady like postures in the process. Assuming the weather remains warm they appreciate the coolness and if it rains or turns cooler they soon run back to the stable to keep warm.

We actually shear our sheep slightly earlier than most of the other farmers in the area but this is part of our organic control of sheep ticks. Magpies will stand on the back of the sheep and pick the ticks out and eat them, however they do this best when the wool is short. So by cutting the wool early we enable the magpies to start controlling the ticks earlier in the season when they start to emerge.


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.