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RNAAT Nº 1222/2017

 

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Agriculture

As far as agricultural production is concerned, the Algarve is quite rich and diverse. For example:

Figs: can be eaten fresh, dry, dry stuffed with almonds;
Carob: After the seed is separated from the fruit begins the transformation of the carob that may result in flour for cakes and thickeners for ice cream and coffees. The mass that results from the crushing of the fruit can also be used in animal food.
Almond: used mainly in regional confectionery. Though it is manufactured the marzipan and the “fine sweets”, it also can be used to fill dried figs, for pies, cakes and liqueurs (Amarguinha).
Olives: in addition to being used to make olive oil, the olives are also seasoned and placed in a brine for later consumption.
Citrus (oranges, clementines, lemons): one of the most important agricultural activity of Silves. The Algarve’s orange because of its unmistakable sweet taste is internationally recognized.
Medronho: this fruit begins to gain a great notoriety. For a long period of time it has been only distilled to produce a very strong kind of moonshine. However, the fruit itself starts to be well known and is already being consumed in its natural form.
Cork: in the mountains of the Algarve we find large cork oak forests with some centuries-old trees. These are the trees that produce the cork. Cork nowadays is not only used to make stoppers. This raw material is also used to make decoration objects, clothes, shoes, bags, jewellery, among others.
Strawberries, avocados, parsnips, peaches, apricots, plums, mangoes, wild berries, raspberries, melons, watermelons, grapes, pomegranates…: the region weather is ideal to farm a huge variety of fruit.
Potatoes, green beans, cabbage (green broth, cabbage, ox heart, white), pumpkins, tomatoes, cucumbers, peppers, onions, garlic …: the farming of vegetables is also important to the region.

Alongside a cosmopolitan Algarve, with modern infrastructures and endless activities and tourist attractions, there is also a genuine Algarve that doesn’t let its traditions end. So, fortunately, it is still possible to find people in the interior who live from agriculture. Agriculture is not only the cultivation of land, but also the raising of livestock (for example, sheep, goats, cows, pigs, etc.).

In counties such as Silves, Monchique and Loulé, for example, we often find shepherds who take their animals to the countryside. And it is not at all strange that we should come across a herd of cows grazing freely in the field and crossing with us on the road side by side.

It is less frequent to find donkeys and mules because these animals are on the verge of extinction. In past times these animals were very important to the populations because they were the ones who transported the crops to the markets, who helped in the lands and took water from wells.