Taberna La Carmencita - Nuestros ecoproductores
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Organic farmers

Chencho, Guillermo, Rafael, Siete Valles de Montaña, María Jesús.

We want to make their names known because we would be nothing without them. They are the real heroes of the twenty-first century.

Chencho

You’ll find Chencho in Polaciones, the highest valley in Cantabria, where the Nansa river flows between virgin forests of century-old oaks and beech trees, with his family and seven mastiffs who protect the flock from menacing wolves. There, lambs roam free in organic farms, smile and acquire an addictive flavour. In the winter time they graze in the Polaciones meadows, and in May, in fields that are 1,500 to 2,000 metres high. The suckling lambs are pasture-raised, alongside their mothers, who graze on organic grass and breastfeed them at their leisure until the cycle ends. They exercise regularly and blossom at La Carmencita.

Guillermo

The fried eggs you taste at La Carmencita are organic and come from happy chickens—that’s why they taste just like they did in the old days. Guillermo, a converted veterinarian, has a small organic farm in Fuentemilanos, Segovia. The chickens feed among the quince trees and the farm has solar panels and a watchdog named Niebla. Even the ink they use for printing is natural.

Santander’s fish market

We have four-spot megrims that are out of this world and unbelievable monkfish. The art of fishing requires sailors with guts and many hours at sea, sometimes in dangerous conditions, like thunderstorms. Gonzalo is in charge of buying the fish. He wakes up at 6 a.m. to go to Santander’s fish market to select the freshest catches of the day. Bidding is another story, but we always try to get the best fish possible. Juanjo takes it to Madrid in our refrigerated van and by lunchtime the fish has arrived to our kitchen so fast you wouldn’t even know that Madrid isn’t by the sea.

Rafael

“When I grow up I want to be a fire-fighting goat: I want to eat every heather, thicket and scrub so they can’t burst into flames ever again. I want to reach places machines are unable to enter.” To thank Rafaek for this heroic effort, we bought him these heroic goats. With his flock of 330 goats, who graze at the Puerto de Los Columbros in the summertime, he helps prevent the catastrophe that happened in the summer of 2010—when a forest fire in Cantabria devastated an area the size of 7,000 football fields—from happening again. Our menu just wouldn’t be complete without him!

María Jesús

María Jesús lives in a small town in San Pedro Romeral, Cantabria. When her partner was left jobless, they decided to put their milk cows to use and poured their heart and soul into becoming milk farmers. In the year 2000 they decided to go organic and became one of the first farms of their kind in Cantabria. The villagers thought she was mad, but she didn’t lose heart and continued to attend workshops and trade fairs to learn more about her newfound passion. Now, her whole family is on board, and with their help, Los Tiemblos has managed to garner national acclaim.

 

“We suffered great hardship. One organic dairy farm is not strong enough on its own to be commercially viable, so I tried to contact other farmers in similar circumstances to set up an organic cooperative. I was forced to give up the idea due to a lack of interest and found myself alone with my organic dairy operation and no real possibilities of selling the milk commercially. What was I to do after so much hard work and high hopes? I now had high-quality organic milk but I couldn’t find a buyer that could cover costs. How could I make a profit when I couldn’t even break even? Those months were extremely difficult for me. Our family began to struggle financially, as the farm didn’t allow us to cover expenses and the milk was going to waste”, says María José. It was then that she began to produce cheese as well as milk. “Now I’m the head of the household and together, thanks to the Los Tiemblos initiative, my family and I hope to stay firmly rooted in this town deep in the heart of Cantabria”, she says.

Siete Valles de Montaña

We wouldn’t be able to serve such delightfully delicious organic beef steaks filled with serrano ham and creamy, buttery cheese from Cantabria’s Pasiego valleys, if it weren’t for Siete Valles de Montaña, the first organic farmers’ cooperative in Cantabria, of which we are collaborative partners. We like to thank them whenever we get the chance and we encourage you to listen to them because their spirit and way of working is truly inspiring. Go to their website and read their stories.

We’d also like to introduce you to Conchi, the author of ecovaldeolea.blogspot.com. She is a true entrepreneur and an amazing communicator. We love Conchi’s organic meat and her desire to improve.

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