Compare and contrast

It is herbicide spraying time in Catalonia.

There are a few different types of farmer around here.  They don’t easily divide into good:bad , eco-friendly:non-eco friendly, green:brown. Some are professional and look after more than one farm, some will be looking after for or five.  Some will have a team of migrant workers to help them; some rely on family and friends.  Some invest heavily in crop specific machinery such as scrapers, rollers, blowers and petrol driven spiky rollers.  Others don’t.  There’s not a fortune to be made with olives and to make sensible decisions you need to balance the costs very carefully. A neighbour stopped to pass the time of day over the weekend, he has three fincas to look after and an allotment of his own as well. He was bemoaning the fact that he had to use chemicals and said there was no way he could cope with three farms and do it in a “green” way which is what he wanted to do.

We have one finca to look after and we are still reasonably new to it.  We don’t spray herbicides, fungicides or pesticides. Basically it’s hands off till its time to pick the fruit, be that olives or almonds. Some call us peasant farmers, we have not invested in big bits of kit, just small items to make our labour intensive methods slightly easier.  A strimmer or two, pole saws to help with the pruning and  chainsaws are the most important items at this time of year. When we were harvesting we needed spiked rollers but they have been put away for the summer.

One of the differences between them and us is we live here.  There are many farmers who live in town and look after their farms at the weekend or maybe one weekend a month. Then there are the guys who are looking after several farms.  they need easy and quick and they don’t have to look at it.  Or deal with the dust I must mention in passing. Our farm is our home, we have to look at it  all year.

Farming without herbicides

Farming without herbicides

Farm showing how the land looks with herbicides.

Farming with herbicides. Grass and plants other than Olive trees not welcome here!

I like the green… I shan’t even mention the wild life which hangs around on our side of the road…