This time, our members went to the beautiful European country which seems as if it was not a part of Europe. The beautiful countryside looks so exotic; people are hardworking and very nice. We met farmers working on family farms on which they mainly grow wine, fruits and vegetables. We visited the capital city called Lisbon, then also the town called Covilha and the winter resort in the mountains of Serra da Estrela.
Lisbon is the capital and the largest city of
Portugal. It is the westernmost large city located in continental Europe, as
well as its westernmost capital city and the only one along the Atlantic coast.
Lisbon lies in the western Iberian Peninsula on the Atlantic Ocean and the
one of the oldest cities in the world, and the oldest city in Western Europe,
predating other modern European capitals such as London, Paris and Rome by
hundreds of years. Julius Caesar made it a municipium called Felicitas Julia,
adding to the name Olissipo. Ruled by a series of Germanic tribes from the 5th
century, it was captured by the Moors in the 8th century. In 1147, the
Crusaders under Afonso Henriques reconquered the city and since then it has
been a major political, economic and cultural centre of Portugal. Unlike most
capital cities, Lisbon's status as the capital of Portugal has never been granted
or confirmed officially - by statute or in written form. Its position as the
capital has formed through constitutional convention, making its position as de
facto capital a part of the Constitution of Portugal.
Belmonte municipality in Portugal has a total area of
118.8 km? and a total population of 7,662 inhabitants. Belmonte is the
birthplace of Pedro Álvares Cabral, the navigator who discovered the land of
Vera Cruz, now known as Brazil. Located in the Church of Santa Maria is the
iconic statue of Nossa Senhora da Esperança (Our Lady of Hope), which Cabral
took with him in his voyage. Belmonte is home to the last remaining community
of marranos (known as the Belmonte Jews). They officially returned to Judaism
in the 1970s and opened a synagogue in 1996.
ESCOLA PROFISSIONAL AGRÍCOLA QUINTA DA LAGEOSA
The Escola Profissional Agrícola Quinta da Lageosa,
is Professional School of Agriculture located in a rural area, in the parish of
Aldeia do Souto (Covilha), although it possesses land in other two parishes:
Orjais and Belmonte. Result of its unique location, the heart of the Cova da
Beira, integrates a farm with about 330 acres, spread over forest, pastures,
orchards and horticulture. It explores a bovine and ovine livestock as well as
swine livestock raised in a traditional system.
It has an educational and training offer in, among
others, Agricultural Mechanization, Equine Caretaker and Clipping, Gardening
and Green Spaces courses and professional courses like Agricultural Production,
Equine Management and Forestry and Environmental Resources.
QUINTA DOS LAMAÇAIS
The Sociedade Agrícola Quinta Dos Lamaçais is an
agricultural society, established in 1982 and gathers about 15 fruit producers.
Located in the locality of Orjais (Belmonte) is dedicated to the production of
peaches, apples and cherries.
Within 200 acres, half of which is with apple trees. Its
annual production is around 300 tons that are mostly to sell fresh in the
COOPERATIVA AGRÍCOLA DOS FRUTICULTORES DA COVA DA BEIRA
Situated in the heart of the Cova da Beira, is a fruit cooperative
built in 1966 by about 40 apple producers. Today, with 912 registered members,
the Cooperative is the channel of distribution that allows conservation, cold
storage, promotion and marketing of their agricultural products. Also provides,
to its associates, training, and technical support to improve quantitative and
qualitative production of their farms.
The Cooperative is recognized as an Integrated Protection Organization
of Producers for pome and drupe culture, Olives and Vine, it is also an entity
owning the patent for traditional denominations and consecrated by the use of
"Apple of Cova da Beira", "Peach of Cova da Beira" and
"Cherry of Cova da Beira"
QUEIJARIA BRAZ & IRMAO
Braz & Irmao is a cheese factory located in Peraboa (Covilha)
dedicated to the production of fresh cheese, cured cheese and mixed sheep and
curd. The company has, already, been awarded with several prizes and 20% of its
production is destined for export. Although investing on technology, the
manufacture of its products continues to be in an artisanal way.
QUINTA DOS TERMOS
In the back of Estrela mountain, with southern exposure on steep slope
and protected to the north by the mountain that delimits it, the QUINTA DOS
TERMOS presents a terroir that marks indelibly the wines produced there. The
farm has an own microclimate and poor land that naturally regulate the most
productive traditional varieties of Beira Interior, such as Trincadeira, Jaen,
Rufete, Marufo, Tinta Roriz, Tinto Cao, Afrocheiro Preto, Touriga Nacional, Baga,
Syria and Fonte Cal and even some of the New World such as Syrah, Petit Verdot
The Cellar, certified in integrated production, is equipped with
sophisticated technology, follows the traditional techniques, guided by
renowned winemakers in the wine world.
The company produces excellent high quality wines since 2001 and has
beenawarded with several prizes.
Company based in Fundao dedicated to the sale of agricultural
products. UNITOM has planted one of the the biggest cherry tree fields in
Portugal, located in Ferro (Covilha). There are 40,000 cherry trees in an area
of 50 acres. The project is based on an intensive production system in order to
generate about 500 tons of cherries starting from 2015. Besides the cherry tree
field, the project includes facilities for processing, cold storage and packaging of fruit aiming
for their rapid placement in domestic and abroad market.
ADEGA COOPERATIVA DO FUNDAO
Adega Cooperativa Fundao is a cooperative winery founded in 1949 by 30
members and aims to make processing and marketing of grape products from the holdings
of its associates.
Located in Fundao, it currently counts more than 1000 associates. Its
capacity is circa 4 million kilograms of grapes per year, those being 70% red
grapes and 30% white grapes.
The winery plans for 2014 point to a sales volume of around 1.4
million euros correspond to 1.7 million liters of wine.
Beiramorango produces strawberries. Located in Telhado (Fundao), the
company starts its investment in 2013 with the plantation of 2 acres of
strawberries in a hydroponic system.
Fundao is an old city, situated at the point where the
slope of the Gardunha range meets the Cova da Beira plains, 500 metres above
sea level. The municipality has a total area of 700.1 square kilometres and
31,297 inhabitants. It is subdivided in 31 parishes.
The town is an important local center of industry and
services. Around it lies some of the most fertile land in the region, in a
large valley (Cova da Beira) between the Gardunha and Estrela ranges, where the
Z?zere River starts its way towards the Tagus. The most significant productions
are cherries, peaches, olive oil, wine, wood pulp and vegetables.
Some of the most important wolframite mines in the world
(a mineral source for the element tungsten) are explored within its municipal
limits. Other important mines extract lead and tin. High quality mineral water
is bottled from several sources.
SABORES DA GARDUNHA
Sabores da Gardunha is a firm born from the idea of preserving fine
quality fruit by making jams and compotes. It is an agro-food company based on
the 'cherry trail', in Alcongosta, Fundao.
The Sabores da Gardunha jams are made from choice fruit and prepared
using the traditional methods of Serra da Gardunha, just like our grandparents
did. Among the jams, compotes and jellies this producer makes, we should
mention those with fructose (strawberry, cherry, Morello cherry and peach),
compotes with dried fruits and nuts (pumpkin with walnuts, pumpkin with
almonds, apple with chestnuts and Melon with almonds), rose petal jelly (there
are apple and quince, too) and the range of compotes and jams (pumpkin, cherry,
Malabar gourd (chila in Portuguese), fig, Morello cherry, peach, fruits of the
forest, quince, bilberry, strawberry, plum, blackberry, pineapple, raspberry,
orange and tomato). It has received several awards for its innovative products.
Twintex is a Portuguese Clothing Manufacturer specialized in TOP
quality ladies and mans outerwear, since 1979. Awarded with a World Award, the
brand with great success exports its entire production.
Twintex today employs more than 300 people - a team that develops and produces,
to the highest quality standards, about 1000 garments per day.
The success of the brand is based on milestones such as the Advanced
Training of Human Capital, Environmental Sustainability, Social Responsibility,
Technology and High Customer Satisfaction. And it is in these principles that
are born projects like Twintex Academy - On the qualification of its human
capital; The Eco Fashion, associated with environmental sustainability - or
Twintex Life on the social responsibility of the company.
Beiraberry is a startup formed in May 2012
with the purpose of produce and commercialize fruit. Since 2013, has been
preparing and installing an orchard of blueberries, with an approximate area of
3 acres. Production will be aimed for the for the domestic and export market.
It is estimated that production is 50 tonnes of blueberries.
Frulact develops custom-made fruit preparations for leading food
labels in the dairy, beverages, ice-cream and industrial pastry markets
throughout Europe, Africa and the Middle East. Frulact is a family owned
company, established in 1987, that specializes in the conceptualization,
development and production of fruit based preparations for application in the
food industry. Operating in a case-to-case model, Frulact offers custom-made
fruit preparations for the major players within the food industry, especially
for dairy, ice creams, and pastries, and for beverages, such as juices,
nectars, and soft drinks.
The company currently operates different industrial sites in Morocco,
France, South Africa and in Portugal where it has the most advanced
state-of-the-art plant in the industrial park of Tortosendo (Covilha) and with
industrial sites in geostrategic locations close to customers and production
areas. Frulact Tortosendo, a state of the art industrial plant, was created to
op 5 European players and enjoys a leadership
position in Europe, Middle East & African markets. Frulact Group includes
more than 500 employees, over 35% of whom have university degrees, and expects
to reach a turnover of more than105 million EURO in 2013.
LOCA is proud of working and having an important slice of the olive
production in Cova da Beira region since it can make olive oil with all the
characteristics of traditional Portuguese olive oil.
The O Portugues Extra olive oil is considered to be pleasantly fruity,
with a smooth taste, which makes it ideal for any kind of cooking and for raw
seasoning, which brings out the full richness of its aromas. With today's
technology we have proved that it is possible to produce O Portugues with all
the traditional characteristics.
The O Portugues comes in several packages natural or with flavours,
with special mention for the olive oil with gold (Ouro), exclusive to our olive
Parkurbis is a Science and Technology Park with the mission of
reinforcement of the economy in the Region of Beira Interior, raising the
technological level of the existing industry and services, promoting the
diversification to new activity sectors, creation of critical mass in R&D
activities and supporting the fixation of young qualified human resources, in
Parkurbis is an instrument for the stimulation and development of the
economical development of the Region, addressing its activity to the creation
of a continuous innovative environment, fostering the transference of
scientific and technological knowledge produced inside R&D institutions to
the business context.
The main goal of Parkurbis is the creation of the tools to support the
development of new technology based activities, ensuring a dynamic interface
between the University of Beira Interior (UBI) and the entrepreneurial tissue
in order to bring together the R&D offer and the needs of companies. Parkurbis,
Science and Technology Park of Covilha comprises outstanding conditions for the
creation, setting up and development of technology basedcompanies.
A number of different solutions are available for different
requirements, with a choice of smaller spaces or larger sites, all fully
equipped with the necessary infrastructure.
Covilha is a city in Centro region, Portugal. The city
proper has 36,723 inhabitants, and the municipality has an area of 555.6 km
with a total population of 53,501, being composed of 31 parishes..
Sometimes referred to as town of wool and snow, Covilha
is one of the main urban centres of the historical Beira Interior region. The
proximity of the mountains offers dramatic scenery and a great environment for
those fond of hiking, camping, mountain climbing and skiing.
The woolen industry has existed here for 800 years,
today mainly found in modern industrial mills. Covilha is one of the main wool
producing centers in Europe. Back in the Middle Age Covilha was one of the main
towns in the kingdom, further enhanced by the fact that some important people
born in the city itself or in the surrounding district were determining
personalities in all the major discoveries
made in the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries: crossing
the Atlantic, the sea route to India, the discovery of America and Brazil, the
first voyage to circumnavigate the globe.
It is a technological centre where the University of
Beira Interior, which receives around 5.000 students studying a variety of
courses, is located.
At its feet stretches a rich, fertile valley, with
excellent conditions for fruit growing (cherries, peaches, apples and pears)
and vineyards - the Cova da Beira.
SERRA DA ESTRELA
Serra da Estrela is the mountain range situated in central Portugal ? in the region called Centro. The highest peak is called Torre (1993 m). It is actually the highest mountain range in the mainland of Portugal. In overall view, it is the second highest mountain range in Portugal after the volcanic massif of Ponta do Pico in the Azores. Serra de Estrela forms the western extension of Spanish Castile mountains. The mountain range is formed as the high-placed mountain plateau divided by the rivers called Mondego, Zzere and their inflows. On the highest peak of the Serra da Estrela there are buildings of radar station and observatory. And then also the stone obelisk which was built up to the height of 7 metres in order to reach the altitude of 2000 metres above the sea level. There is the mountain road stretching from the village called Penhas da Saúde.
Photography: Jakub Kubačka, Martin Steček, Michal Illík