From proteas to aloe vera, via vines, sugar and coffee, the Canary Islands are the ideal destination for a “nature” experience off the beaten track.
“As I pick flowers and admire the reliefs of the Caldera de Taburiente mountain range, the breeze frees my mind from all my worries. Growing proteas on La Palma is a very interesting choice: they can be easily marketed because we are the only place, outside Africa, where they grow! “.
The production of aloe vera on the islands is known to everyone
Eduardo Cabrera explains how farming has become a window to another life for him and his partner, Pino Ramón Pérez. Agricultural foreman Pino Ramón Pérez saw his dream come true by growing and caring for Europe’s most coveted flower for its longevity and its exotic and fragile appearance. Eduardo and Pino have their protea plantation just off the road that takes visitors to the Caldera de Taburiente National Park. Thanks to this ideal location, the campsite has become a mandatory stop during excursions in the El Paso area.
“We explain to visitors how the cultivation is carried out and we offer them a flower… this orchard is a learning experience to further develop the market for Canary proteas in Europe and other continents. Here the climate is ideal for growing this difficult to obtain plant, even in Africa. » Explain Edward.
As you can see, the lands of the archipelago are not only rich in beauty, but this new eco-friendly agriculture also has many attractions for those who want to change their way of life by getting closer to nature and the environment. . The archipelago also allows them to learn more about the cultivation of new varieties and varieties with historical roots in the islands’ fields and orchards.
The production of aloe vera on the islands is known to everyone. Canary aloe vera has one of the best percentages of vitamins and is certified “organic” by the Agrifood Quality Institute of the Canary Islands Government. Ricardo Javier Lima went from drinking regularly with his family to acquiring a farm in Valverde on the island of El Hierro.
“We make sure that our production is always of the highest quality. We also ensure that products intended for oral or dermal consumption meet health and environmental standards. », Explain Edward.
Visitors to the agricultural areas of the Canary Islands have the chance to discover local restaurants offering dishes that reinvent traditional dishes with new flavours, while preserving those of typical Canarian dishes. Cheese factories and restaurants abound in the municipalities devoted to agriculture. These places offer the opportunity to interact with the locals who are passionate about food and agriculture. Eduardo claims so “The locals know how to get the most out of the land and keep it fertile as it is our main source of life and wealth. »
The Canary Islands have for many years been Europe’s orchard for agricultural crops and tropical plant species that can only be grown in the climatic conditions of the islands. Sugar cane is still grown to produce the Canary Islands’ flavourful rum. In Tenerife and Gran Canaria, miles of sugar cane are harvested once a year and turned into this popular traditional drink since the secrets of its cultivation were brought from the Caribbean over 400 years ago.
Thus, in the shadow of the Teide National Park, in Tenerife, in the Sacred Mountains of Gran Canaria, recognized with the Risco Caído as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, it is possible to relearn how to extract the products we consume from the earth . health guarantees and respect for the environment.
Travel through the vineyards
The Canary Islands also have a long wine and viticultural tradition; the Canarian wines were already in the cellars of the caravels who discovered the new world in 1492. In fact, for centuries they have been the hallmark of the recognized work of the islands’ winegrowers, who are currently transitioning to organic viticulture in the vineyards of Gáldar, in Gran Canaria, La Villa de La Orotava and Güimar, in Tenerife. The Momentos wine from the Güimar DO Valley has recently received the gold medal for the best organic wine of the Canary Islands in the Agrocanarias competition.
The Canary archipelago has ten designations of controlled origin, five of which are in Tenerife (Abona, La Orotava, Tacoronte-Acentejo, Valle de Güímar and Ycoden-Daute-Isora) and one in each of the islands: one in Gran Canaria, one in La Gomera, one in El Hierro, one in La Palma and one in Lanzarote. Visits are organized to these vineyards, each of which has a solid quality guarantee and a perfect structure for the cultivation and trade of wine. Their historical roots and the variety and richness of the combination of grape varieties, many of which are endemic, are proof of this.
Lanzarote’s rugged terrain has not prevented its wines from being among the most awarded in Europe. They are mainly grown in the La Geria Natural Park, which includes land in the municipalities of Yaiza, Tías, Tinajo, San Bartolomé and Teguise. Several wineries from this region have won awards at the international competition The World of Malvasía, held in Croatia in 2015.
La Geria is a form of viticulture that is almost a miracle when you know that it originated on volcanic soil. Many visitors come to the region to discover how the humidity of the trade winds enables plant development.
Canarian coffee plantations
Coffee is another special culture of the islands that attracts many visitors, especially in the Agaete Valley in Gran Canaria, “a magical place that brings together the ideal conditions for obtaining one of the best gourmet coffees in the world”, says Víctor Lugo, proud owner of one of the most traditional farms in the region. This coffee is grown at an altitude of 200 meters above sea level and is produced and harvested by hand. The tradition of cultivating this fertile land with a microclimate very similar to that of Colombia, “if not better”explains Lugo, “goes back four or five generations, when the seeds arrived at the port of Agaete from South America. Today we are more than twenty families who have made our livelihood from our passion for this culture”.