Pedro and his father are two entrepreneurs who, in addition to managing the hostel / guesthouse Castaway, together with his mother, also grow vegetables, in a sustainable way for local sale in Peniche.
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Pedro and his father…
… are the “heads” behind the Orvalho project. The first has a professional activity as a mechanical engineer and the second as a carpenter. Both dedicate the end of their days and most of their weekends to this project.
Orvalho consists on…
… producing seasonal and local vegetables. It is a pilot project that, in the future, intends to gain a larger scale, always following good agricultural practices and providing healthy food that respect the environment and the natural cycle of plants.
Father and son…
… realized that the integration of this project in their hostel/ guesthouse Castaway, would be an asset. This is because most of their guests are concerned with healthy, local and sustainable food. Nowadays, due to the Covid-19 pandemic, there is a greater difficulty in attracting guests and, as they have an oversized production for the family, they decided to sell the products and sell what they produced.
The production of vegetables is done, through the use of sustainable techniques and procedures,…
… taking into account the rules of organic farming. Although they follow the principles of organic farming, they are not certified.
They use certified organic seeds, mostly national and of different varieties, thus guaranteeing the production of a variety of crops for the same type of vegetable.
Fighting pests and diseases does not involve the use of chemicals, even if approved for organic farming. New ways of fighting are being tested by Pedro and his father, for example, the use of “fine mesh nets to prevent attacks of aphids, flies, snails, etc., decoction of horsetail to combat fungi such as powdery mildew and associations with other plants in order to attract beneficial insects that allow a balance of the ecosystem ”.
They have 18 beds with 7 square meters each, where it is forbidden to enter and where a drip irrigation system was installed in order to test their benefits / problems.
For the distribution / sale of products, they use biodegradable bags.
As with all projects, there are ups and downs and, at this moment, for Orvalho, its biggest challenges are…
… due to the difficulty that exists for the consumer to adhere to local consumption due to its seasonality, for being restricted to the local variety and also for the wrong association that they make regarding the price of local foods to be much more expensive than those of conventional agriculture. Some consumers also believe that some of these products are not safe for consumption, which is not always true.
As they intend to make a sustainable production, they avoid the use of synthetic pesticides, but the alternatives require more work and resilience, and pass through prevention, diversity of cultures or “recipes” that help to control the problem.
… Peniche municipality is an unexplored, small market and there is little awareness of this type of consumption, although “nationally and internationally awareness to consumption of organic food is gaining more and more fans, especially in developed countries ”.
In order to make food systems more sustainable, Pedro believes it is necessary…
… a greater awareness of the population in general and that it is strictly necessary to raise children’s awareness since their first school years, “through the promotion of actions such as the creation of vegetable gardens in school, visits to sustainable agricultural farms and integration of organic foods in the cafeterias /canteens ”.
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