“The first wealth is health.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson
Growing, selling and distributing organic products is big business. European sales topped €33.5 billion in 2016 and are steadily growing every year. The demand for organic products has spurred an agricultural revolution in some parts of Europe. The number of farms that have converted their land from “traditional” farms to organic ones is nothing to be sniffed at, especially when it is considered that organic farming techniques are better for the soil and the environment, not to mention better for the humans doing the farming.
When it comes to the amount of terra firma used for organic farming in the EU, Spain tops the list, using more than 2 million hectares, or 16.6%, of land for organic production, some of it previously deemed non-arable or almost so.
“But what about here on Mallorca," you’re thinking. Well…here on the island, there is a growing trend toward organic and sustainable agriculture, and an increasing presence of individual farms or cooperatives of several farms under the same auspices that have sprung up, meaning Mallorca has more organic options than ever.
What Is Organic Farming? #
The European Parliament’s definition states that: “Organic Farming is an overall system of farm management and food production that combines the best environmental practices, a high level of biodiversity, the preservation of natural resources, and the application of high animal welfare standards.” Pretty comprehensive but also pretty tough to live up to, right? Well, yes and no.
Organic produce farmers certainly have to be more vigilant, as the philosophy (and the regulations) disallows use of chemical pesticides and synthetic fertilisers and must be on land free of them for three years minimum. GMO’s are a big no-no. Finally, crops must be on a rotation system, which allows the soil to refresh itself in the off-years, which ensures the best quality produce is grown, and therefore eventually eaten.
If you’re an organic livestock farmer, antibiotic use is severely limited. The animals must be free-range, with plenty of fresh air and fed only organically certified food.
So, whilst there ARE rules, they aren’t deal-breakingly difficult to adhere to. Given added bonus of having all that amazing, clean food on your table every day, and knowing that you’re doing the same for families all over must be rewarding in itself and a great motivator to go the extra mile(s).
Tight Controls and Rigorous Testing #
This may be the boring stuff, but it is important to know what it actually takes to make a product certified organic here in Europe. There are those who believe it’s all a load of rubbish, and that it’s just way for farmers to hike prices up and fool unsuspecting consumers. It might be possible that some are, but the rules governing the certification process seem to demonstrate otherwise.
To be allowed to label products organic, a producer, marketer or distributor must first register with a local "control body" appointed by EU member states to inspect the operators in the organic food chain. Every operator is checked at least once a year and is subject to rigorous surprise testing. This surprise element keeps most operators on the straight and narrow, with an overall estimated 98% compliance to regulations. Imported organic products are also tightly controlled to ensure they are in accordance to EU standards.
Farmers aren’t the only ones who have the authorities keeping an eye on them. The rules on how products are transported and stored must also follow a set of regulations before the organic logo is awarded to the operator.
Organic on Mallorca #
Now for the good stuff! A short list of farms and where you can get organic products locally…
Eco Sa Teulera
This one has three locations, including the Santa Catalina Market, and offer a wide selection of dairy products, including unpasteurised milk, cheeses and yoghurt. They also have a wide selection of produce, breads, pastries, olive oil and meat products.
www.ecosateulera.com, +34 971 183 474
A place exclusively for carnivores. They are a cooperative of stock-breeders and farmers who offer veal, lamb, turkey, chicken, kid, and even ostrich… all organically certified.
Carrer des Trinquet 3, 1er, 07510 Sineu, +34 616 068 600
This place offers everything. They have their own meats, produce, aromatic and medicinal herbs, honey and dry goods. One-stop organic shopping.
Pi de s'Horta 3, 07590 Cala Ratjada, +34 699 795 325
A well-priced farm shop that has loads of fresh produce, dry goods, frozen food and even personal and household items.
Ctra. de Inca-Llubi Km 6, 07300 Inca, + 34 971 504 540
For you adherents to Bacchus, there are two vineyards that produce wine biodynamically. Mesquida Mora, run by native Mallorquin Barbara Mesquida-Mora and Carlos Feliu’s Can Feliu. Coincidentally, both are located in Porreres, in Mallorca’s heartland, and both are Demeter certified. Demeter criteria are far more stringent than the EU’s when it comes to wine, and their certification is extraordinarily difficult to obtain.
Camí de Sant Joan, 07260 Porreres, +34 687 971 457
Camí de sa Serra, Km 1,2, 07260 Porreres, +34 971 168 078
There are also a smattering of organic supermarkets, mostly in Palma, as well as smaller speciality shops dotted around the island’s villages. Many of the large supermarket chains, such as Aldi, Carrefour and Lidl, also have organic sections.
As the demand grows for organically-grown and raised products, so does awareness of how we are affecting our bodies, the soil and our planet in general. Going back to the basics and farming the way people did for centuries before the advent of chemicals not only protects our personal health, but the health of our delicately balanced ecosystems. Let’s hope this is one trend that continues!
#agricultureinspain #organicmallorca #wwoof #wwoofmallorca #mesquidamora #canfeliu #veganmallorca #ecomallorca
By Stephanie Horsman
14 August, 2019