Organic Farm and Garden
Suryalila Yoga Retreat Centre is located in the heart of Andalusia, the agricultural capital of Spain, and we are dedicated to creating healthy sustainable living. The Yoga Centre is situated on an ancient olive grove, surrounded by over 350 lovely old olive trees and we produce our own home-cured olives and hundreds of litres of organic cold-pressed olive oil each year. We also harvest many of our own fruits and veggies from our orchards and gardens. Everything we grow is organic, no chemicals or fertilisers are used.
Organic Kitchen Vegetable Garden
In view of the kitchen window, and overlooked by the Balinese Pagoda, is our vegetable garden. The first plant you see, woven through the fence which borders the garden, is a grapevine. We sometimes use the fresh grape leaves to make dolmas. The grapes ripen in late September.
You can often see our cooks in the kitchen garden, picking fresh herbs and edible flowers for the meal. We have an extensive herb garden, with rosemary, parsley, basil, mint, lavender, oregano, thyme, chives and much more.
There are several abundant black fig trees and a few orange trees in the garden. August is the month to enjoy figs and they are best picked straight from the tree. Our favourite recipe is figs stuffed with local soft goat cheese and baked in the oven. Mouth-watering!
In the kitchen garden we grow more exotic lettuces, heritage tomatoes, kale (not usually grown in Spain), artichokes, broccoli and more. The main pests we have to worry about in our garden are our peacocks, who have been known to eat (in about 5 minutes) an entire bed of broccoli seedlings that were just planted that morning! We are still trying to come up with devious means for thwarting the peacocks.
Suryalila Organic Olive Oil – Liquid Gold!
We harvest our olives in late October. We usually enlist a few locals to help us with this, as it is quite skilled labour. The trees must be pruned every year, which is hard work with so many trees and involves skillful use of a chainsaw. Harvesting the olives involves shaking the trees onto a tarpaulin and also hand-picking, the way it has been done for thousands of years. After shaking the olives off the trees, we need to clean them and then either soak them in brine or take them to Zahara de la Sierra where we get them milled. In harvesting season when you go to the olive mill, you need to wait in line. You are given a number, like in a busy office, and have to wait for your number to be called. They will call you half an hour before your turn and in harvest season the mill works 24 hours, so you might be called up in the middle of the night. After your olives are milled with big grindstones you are given a number of huge containers of olive oil. These containers contain ample olive oil to last our kitchen the whole year and also allow us to sell some to guests in our shop, with our own label designed by Rebecca, the artist and founder of Yoga Will Save the World. Suryalila olive oil is nutty and sweet and bitter at the same time and a deep gold colour with a greenish hue.
We are experimenting with different kinds of marinade to flavour the olives for eating. It’s possible to add chili and garlic and peppers and different herbs, and we are still looking for that perfect recipe.
We have a large orchard with over 50 fruit trees. Our chickens live happily in the orchard also.
Aside from the fruit trees in the orchard we have many orange and lemon trees scattered around the property. If one of the cooks needs a lemon, they just go outside and pick it from a tree. Your freshly squeezed orange juice couldn’t be any fresher! The oranges look so pretty on the trees we leave them there until they fall off. The orange trees fruit twice a year and when they flower the air is fragrant with orange blossoms.
So Many Happy Chickens!
Our organic free-range eggs come from our own happy chickens. We keep over 80 chickens to feed our guests. The chickens share their field with geese, turkeys and peacocks. Since we are vegetarian our birds have long and happy lives. We like to think the chickens had a party the day we moved onto the property! Collecting the eggs is one of the favorite occupations of our volunteers. As a guest, you are free to visit our chickens, as long as you close the gate behind you. The chickens have a habit of following you, en masse, when you enter the orchard, as they always think you are coming with the food scraps, even when you are not carrying a bucket!
We are excited to present Doug and Jacob who are working on a permaculture project at Suryalila. Soon we’ll be plowing the large wheat field in preparation for growing a food forest. Meanwhile, we are busy creating a nursery, a bigger composting project and working on landscaping. In the future Doug is planning to hold permaculture trainings here at Suryalila. Contact us if you might be interested in this.
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