La Donaira’s 250 hectares consist of 90 ha of pasture, gardens and vineyards and 160 ha of old oak forest. The farm rises from 650m to 1100m and has 9 different soil types, dominated by clay, layered over limestone and granite.
We started running the farm according to biodynamic principles in 2006, and have since integrated various permaculture and regenerative agriculture techniques.We are working to establish a model polyculture system for soil regeneration based on rotation grazing, water harvesting and no-till agriculture. A small herd of Pajuna cattle, 300 sheep, 500 chickens and 60 horses make up the livestock population that provide us with soil fertility and protein.
Apart from the animals, we keep 2 has of vegetable gardens, fruit orchards, 3 hectares of vineyard, olive trees, beehives and a medicinal herb garden. The farm is worked by a team of German cold bloods, mules and donkeys, occasionally supported by a John Deere for heavy-duty jobs.
- Pajuna are the oldest known domesticated breed of cow, a direct descendant of the wild Aurochs (Uro). Andalusia has a biodiversity protection programme that includes this unique breed. Only about 500 head of Pajuna remain. An ancient breed indigenous to the region, they are extremely hardy and easy to keep – winter and summer outdoors, 100% grass fed. Pajuna are not ideal for meat or milk production – but they are optimized for easy keeping in the wild. In addition to being a source of meat and milk year-round, the herd is a key element in our soil fertility management – providing us with the king of bioactive fertilizers – cow shit!
- In the orchards we grow the “pero de Ronda”, an old and rare variety of local apple. The pero de Ronda is the typical apple you may remember from your childhood – crunchy, acidic, with rich “apply” sugars lining the gum at every bite. In addition to the peros we grow peaches, apricots, pears, almonds, figs, chestnuts, plums, cherries, oranges …
- Medicinal herb garden modelled on the concept of old monastery gardens which served as living pharmacies, the garden contains over 60 different healing, calming, invigorating and revitalising natural herbs. Part of the breakfast routine is a walk through this herb garden with your teapot in hand and your mood management in mind.
- Our large vinyard: the vineyard extends over 3 hectares and we cultivate four varieties of grape including Syrah, Blaufrankish, Petit Verdot and Cabernet Franc. We produce our red and rosé wines following biodynamic and permaculture axioms to care for our vineyard.