Rosemary: A Quality Choice
Farmers like Victor, one of the small growers supplying our rosemary, have been working in harmony with nature in the Sierra Mariola National Park for decades. For Victor, it only seems logical that such beauty is preserved through the use of organic farming practices. "Man and nature have coexisted for many years together, at peace with one another. Through our techniques, we help and grow with nature, not against it," he says.
Victor grows other crops as well, but he believes that rosemary, which is indigenous to the area, does the best — especially with a little help from man. Transplanting into areas where the rosemary can be exposed to full sun while the wind is kept at bay allows the plants to grow to their full potential. The rosemary is still wild-harvested, but Victor feels the added human intervention yields rosemary that has a little bolder flavor — more in keeping with the striking beauty of its environment.
Victor's rosemary is harvested twice a year, with the stems trimmed by hand and the leaves mechanically removed. Plants can last up to 30 years — though they will get woody stems and produce fewer quality leaves as they age. The drought-resistant plants flourish in the rolling hillsides of Mariola and are a welcome presence in the park. They attract birds as well as pollinating bees, whose populations are under stress around the world.