Topaz, Reineta and Golden are just three of the ten apple varieties that Paulo Lima and Sandra Patrocínio produce on the seven-hectare farm located in Cabeço dos Carris, in the municipality of Alcobaça.
Cabeço dos Carris
How to get there
+ 351 917 822 369 (Paulo Lima)
Miguel Neiva Correia, Hortelão do Oeste
Texto de Patrícia Serrado
In 2005, Paulo Lima and Sandra Patrocínio ventured into the Cister Bio’s Apple project, to which they dedicated themselves part-time. After attending courses aimed at young agricultural entrepreneurs and other inherent training, Paulo Lima starts to work full time in their business.
The exploration area, located in Cabeço dos Carris, parish of Évora de Alcobaça, in the municipality of Alcobaça, has seven hectares.
The sunny slopes, facing south, and the floodplains composed of water lines constitute the geomorphology of the orchard surrounded by Mediterranean forest, a common scenario in Cister. Also, they protect orchards from possible bad agricultural practices by others and, at the same time, they serve to promote fauna. “We spread fake nests for birds and facilities for bats, for example, because they eat the insects that are harmful to apples”, explains Paulo Lima, for whom snakes are also an asset since they eat the rats.
Topaz, Reineta and Golden are just three of the ten apple varieties that Paulo Lima and Sandra Patrocínio produce on the farm, “But there is news for the coming years with different apples and some creative flavours”.
“Since I was very young, I have been a big apple enthusiast. I like apples with personality. Each one transmits a different flavour that personifies it, but I also have to look for others that are healthier”. Learning has been progressive and intensive. In addition to the time invested in the orchard, it is common practice to constantly seek knowledge in this sector and to go to international fairs, to learn everything about the most diverse varieties of apples. “In Bolzano, Italy, I once tasted 50 different varieties!”.
Nature lovers and averse to intensive farming, Paulo and Sandra put in place the necessary procedures for the organic farming certification, "which was dealt with in 2005". The next step will be biodynamic agriculture, to promote the resistance of the apple trees and to increase the fruit quality “by working the soils with microorganisms that feed the trees through their roots”.
The apple picking depends on the variety and the respective height of ripening of the fruit. “Most of it is caught between late August and early September and extends to December. Then they go to the chambers - I have several - and the distribution follows. My apples circulate in almost all national territory”, reveals Paulo Lima who recommends that the apples remain in the fruit tree outdoors, “it is the best”. If the option is the refrigerator, it is advisable to place them in the compartment reserved for vegetables.