Wednesday, 28 November 2012

Another season comes to an end

It’s now been a month since the hotel shut for this year and during that time both Joe and I have been away on walking holidays. But now we’ve returned and have been looking back on this year and thought it would be nice to recap on some of the highlights of this season.

The hotel restaurant full of guests.

 It was very rewarding for us to see that this year more guests than ever have eaten in the hotel restaurant. No doubt this is partly because we introduced a special half board rate for 2012 but I think it is also because more and more people know and appreciate the type of food we serve. 

Imaginative home grown cuisine; red onion and apple delights

We call our cooking an “imaginative home grown cuisine” where we try to make the best use of fresh organic home grown and local produce. We also always serve a vegetarian option for which we are becoming well known particularly with our Spanish customers as vegetarian food in Spain is hard to find.

Anuska (on the right) who did her practical training with us this year

To this end, at the beginning of the season we had a mature Spanish student, Anuska helping in the kitchen for 3 months for her practical training. She wanted to work with us as she had a particular interest in vegetarian food. At the end of the season we also had another student, Tarmo doing his work experience with us.  He came from Finland and was studying the use of natural resources in tourism and this time was helping mostly helping on the farm. Then finally Juanita from Colombia was volunteering with us. She helped with apple picking amongst other jobs.  So a big thanks to Anuska, Tarmo and Juanita for all their help.

Tarmo (on the left) helping with the apple harvest

The apple harvest; many hands make light work, with Jaunita, Joe, Mari Carmen, Patricia and Samantha

We had a fairly good apple crop this year and started collecting the apples in the third week of October. This year with the help of our volunteers as well as the regular staff the harvest went very quickly. As always the apples are pressed and made into apple juice and we now have a good stock of juice ready for next season.

Our lambs gaining popularity

On the farm front we are also pleased to say that for the second year we have been selling our lambs to the “Corral del Indiano” one of our local Michelin Star Restaurant. The lamb has proved hugely popular at the restaurant and with the success of the dish they have ordered as many lambs as we can produce for next year!

The pastures around the hotel in August taking a golden hue due to the long dry summer

According to the locals 2012 has been the driest year in Asturias for over 50 years and by late August many of the surrounding pastures and fields had a distinctive golden hue. Luckily with the help of water from our borehole we were able to water and produce many different crops in the vegetable garden.  This year every 2 months we made a video of the vegetable garden so people could follow its progress. As a part of a longer term project to try and produce more visual information on what we do here at Hotel Posada del Valle we have produced videos on walking and the food we serve at the hotel.

Hot crops from a dry summer

The consumer group has now been going for almost 2 years. Once a week the growers bring their produce to the hotel and then volunteers from the group make up the vegetable boxes and then the members of the group come to collect their boxes. We are very pleased to be able to help with this local initiative and hope the consumer group carries on moving from strength to strength.

Finally when reviewing the hotel season the biggest thanks must go to all our guests for supporting us and coming to stay with us, many of whom who come year after year

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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.