About us


OUR HISTORY

As lovers of nature, healthy food and rural Galicia we believe there’s nothing more rewarding than working the land. This is why, in 2012, we decided to set up Orballo to offer you the best quality products, 100% organic.

In the As Mariñas region, in the province of A Coruña, Spain, we started to cultivate and enhance species such as chestnuts, hazelnuts, walnuts and a wide variety of aromatic plants, with the respect and care that our land deserves.


OUR COMMITMENT TO CHANGE THE WORLD… SLOWLY, BUT SURELY

100% organic products. We know how beneficial it is for our body and our health to consume natural products, which is why Orballo avoids all use of pesticides, herbicides and synthetic chemicals that can harm our health.

100% sustainable products. We love nature and the biodiversity it offers us. We believe that it’s vitally important to respect the environment, so we’re determined to do our bit to change the world by not using any synthetic additives that might destroy the ecosystem.

100% quality products. We take care of the entire production process ourselves, which allows us to guarantee that our produce is harvested at the best time and processed with the utmost care. We are committed to quality and to our land.

 

Orballo (according to the Royal Galician Academy), meaning…

1. Humidity of the air which, when cooled during the night, condenses and forms small droplets.

Water: a well-kept secret

One of the great protagonists of Galicia is water: its sea, its numerous rivers, the rain… This is reflected in the wide variety of words to refer to it in the Galician language. This water gives our products their exceptional characteristics.

THE BEES


MORE TREES, MORE HAPPY BEES

At Orballo, the plants aren’t the only stars of the show. In Donín, we have these little buzzing machines that play a very important role in the development of our crops… and in 80% of crops around the world.


WHY ARE THEY SO IMPORTANT?

The fundamental value of bees lies in the work they do – pollination.  You mightn’t even notice it happening, but it’s essential to life on Earth. Big responsibility, isn’t it? Most plants need help to reproduce and bear fruit. And these little insects provide this key service. The bee is the pollinator of 80% of flowering plants. Bees also ensure the reproduction of wild plants and the food for wildlife. Studies have shown that one-third of our daily food is derived directly or indirectly from the pollination of bees.

Bees are able to recognise and memorise the smell of a particular plant species. So, when they head out to “work” they temporarily specialise in a particular type of flower. This results in greater pollination and productivity of the plants.

Throughout history the relationship between bees and humans has gone hand in hand. There is evidence that humans were already working with them more than 8000 years ago, extracting their honey, pollen, wax and royal jelly. Today we can say that there’s a great future in apitherapy and natural cosmetics, thanks to the products generated by bees.


BUT BEES ARE DISAPPEARING. LET’S SAVE THEM!

Alarms have been sounding for many years now about the loss of these insects. There are several causes for this: industrialised agriculture (monoculture), the use of pesticides and herbicides, pollution, invasion of species from other regions…. All of these factors have resulted in a very high mortality rate of these insects in Spain and the loss of their habitats. And, believe it or not, research shows that, in the long term, this is contributing to climate change.

There are many problems resulting from the loss of bees. The main problem is the low pollination of both crops and wild spices, which has harmful economic repercussions on many crops and on the biodiversity of our forests.


SO WHAT CAN WE DO ABOUT IT?

We can contribute to the survival of bees and other pollinators in many ways: by consuming organic, local and seasonal products; by buying products from local beekeepers, and by supporting sustainable beekeeping.

Every spring, Antonio from A Despensa das Abellas (shop selling organic products) installs a dozen beehives a few metres away from our crops, just far enough so as not to disturb them and to respect their space. So, as well as having happy, pollinated plants, we also receive a few jars of exquisite honey that we enjoy throughout the winter and use to treat our colds. What more could you ask for?

At Orballo, the plants aren’t the only stars of the show. In Donín, we have these little buzzing machines that play a very important role in the development of our crops.

The trees


WHAT TYPE OF TREES DO WE PLANT

Talking about Orballo, is to talk about trees. It’s believing in another way of understanding forests. It’s saying no to monoculture, it’s preventing fires and contributing to the biodiversity of the planet.

We started our project back in 2012, with a plantation devoted to the production of organic fruit, with chestnut, walnut and hazelnut trees. They’re still thriving and will soon bear their first fruits.

We’ll let you in on a secret here: Did you know that growing trees is very beneficial to growing tea? It’s a technique known as ‘tiered cultivation’ or ‘companion planting’ and consists of a symbiotic use of the land. Pure symbiosis: tea plants needs shade and the trees provide it, it’s a win-win situation. Trees and tea plants make excellent cultivation companions. Orballo selects different species of the genus Quercus, which provide excellent shade and create special climatic conditions in the soil.

But it’s not all work. We have different types of trees in our fields that have a purely ornamental and decorative function.  Yes, yes, we know – it’s just to make things even more pleasing for the eye. We also look for native varieties with a different chromaticism and morphology.  They’re such beautiful trees!

Talking about Orballo, is to talk about trees. It’s believing in another way of understanding forests.

The tea


In 2012, Orballo embarked upon a new, exciting project: to grow tea in Galicia, with a certified organic plantation that would open a new path for rural development in the region.

We have been working on this project for more than 5 years now. Growing a tea garden in Galicia is a team effort that is sometimes difficult but always rewarding, it’s unique.

You’re probably wondering what a camellia has to do with innovation. Almost all of us know what it is. And it’s true; the camellia plant has been around since the nineteenth century. Well, a few years ago, with the support of the Estación Fitopatolóxica do Areeiro (a phytopathological station belonging to Pontevedra Provincial Council), we discovered that tea is obtained from one specific variety of camellia. We thought this was very interesting, and a good business idea. But the question arose as to whether anybody was already doing it. So we did some research and found that only one plantation exists, in the Azores Islands. There are none in England even, despite its high consumption of tea.

Innovative projects in rural areas have an added difficulty, since it’s very complicated to do something and have a finished product to sell at the end of it.

We’ve also worked for several years with the best tea experts in the country, the Escuela Española del Té (Spanish School of Tea) to develop a product that, if all goes well, you’ll be able to try this spring. It will be the first organic tea in Europe, and it’s Galician. We find innovation difficult because, for us, innovation goes hand in hand with error, with making mistakes and learning from them. However, we think the rural sector in general has a bright future, we think it’s possible to innovate, to do things in a different way, and to make truly sustainable products. And we’re proof that it can be done.

In 2012, Orballo embarked upon a new, exciting project: to grow tea in Galicia.

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