"Feeding on the Montado do Freixo do Meio means sharing an essential good to fulfill in an agroecological way, that is, that respects the soils and natural fertility cycles, enhances biodiversity, has not used chemicals or transgenics for two decades and promote forest regeneration. "
Bio Shop Ribeira Market
Mercado da Ribeira (corredor central junto das flores)
Avenida 24 de Julho nº 50
Shedule: Open from Monday to Friday, between 10am and 19pm, and Saturdays between 9am and 17pm. Closed on Sunday.
+351 266 877 136
Texto de Patrícia Serrado
Fotografias de Vânia Rodrigues
Alfredo Cunhal Sendim, the owner of Herdade do Freixo do Meio, has the coolest agriculture in Alentejo and, perhaps, the country. The epicenter is in this property located near the village of Foros de Vale Figueira, in the municipality of Montemor-o-Novo, Évora district, Alentejo, where the biological and biodynamic mode was implemented as early as the 1990s.
The central object of his mission is the resources of the planet worked consciously, leaving Nature plays its role freely, hence the importance of agroforestry to Alfredo Cunhal Sendim, for whom the trees denote greater efficiency within the ecosystem. "It’s the trees that produce efficiently. Without trees we're not going anywhere," he says. The respect he has for the cycle of Nature determines his indignation at the implementation of agriculture in the early days of the human being. "When we started, we had a potential ecosystem of abundance, but we thought it was possible to reverse with a velocity much higher than that which Nature creates."
For this reason, he believes in putting the knowledge to this service where he tries to reverse this process, in order to create a more productive ecosystem. However, this position does not have to be assumed by the farmer alone. It is essential that we all have a preponderant role in achieving this end. For Alfredo Cunhal Sendim it is an issue that involves the whole, the collective, even because all this work is closely linked with food. "Food is, essentially, what connects us to this project. It is a collective problem (...), it is essential for our existence."
It was on the basis of this idea that the Herdade do Freixo do Meio became a cooperative "that has consumers, has collaborators, has producers that it intends, not in a speculative way, but in a democratic, transparent way, to involve a whole community" democratic, based on inclusion and transparency, which has the whole as a greater responsibility. The purpose is to invest: "we have to find a formula to structure society."
Over time, it was possible to arrive at a "very specialized reality", which allows to flow the work done in this Alentejo property, where the own production of organic agriculture gives origin to products, later transformed into the homestead and translate into diversity, thanks to the work of producers or collaborators through the Community Support Agriculture program. To this end, he has a small bakery and seven micro-factories.
As for the products, they exist for all tastes and needs: olive oil, wine, vinegar; acorn and derivatives; poultry meat, lamb, pork, veal; baby meat; cereals, nuts and legumes; delicatessen frozen; canned vegetables; herbs; fruit and vegetables; milk and dairy products; eggs, bread, pastry; dehydrated products; soups and ready-to-eat meals (quiches, pies); and juices. The products are available for purchase through the online store on the website, in the physical store located in Herdade do Freixo do Meio and in the Time Out Market in Lisbon.