Thursday, August 26, 2010

Crazy Idea #13

'Las farmacias. Imágenes de nuestra memoria' (editado por Cofares y la editorial Turner)

During a visit to one of the houses we looked at we were told that they´d had a previous offer from a doctor from Madrid who planned to grow medicinal herbs on the 2500 m2 of attached land. The deal fell through when he couldn´t sell his house in Madrid, but the idea stayed with me. I´d first heard about cultivating medicinal herbs from Sharon Astyk who is a blogger I admire. She´s planning a medicinal herb venture on her farm in upstate New York. (And she has adorable Nigerian Dwarf Dairy goats!)

Interestingly, many of the online guides/info sites focus on growing culinary, aromatic or medicinal herbs in a traditional ag monoculture format - i.e. big flat acreages. Unsurprisingly, this came with lots of capital investment machinery requirements and pest problems. Certified organic appears to be a highly valuable selling point.

O Consello Regulador de Agricultura Ecolóxica de Galicia (Craega)is the governing body for organic production in Galicia. I´ll have to do some research.

There are some shade medicinal herbs which require either forest conditions or protection with shade structures (ginseng, black cohosh). Since we´ll probably be heating with wood and will need to find a woodlot somewhere - that was an interesting read. Ginseng in particular struck me. Cultivated semi-wild it could be worth up to $300/lb - unfortunately it could take up to 9 YEARS for a crop. Oy.

I´m watching the Gallego channel in case it turns out I can learn Gallego by pure osmosis (hey it could happen) and saw a bit on researching potential pharmaceutical and agricultural applications for stinging nettle. The lab-guy commented that there was no one actually cultivating stinging nettle in Galicia which I can understand, but it sure does grow wild. We know from our old house explorations. No sandals or shorts!

Lavender is pretty - but it might be more suited to the Ribeira Sacra, which I think is drier. But Ian and Luis at Tales of Toriello in Asturias seem to be having success.

Cut flowers would be nice, but I know that Barbara at LifeinGalicia sometimes has had trouble from time to time selling her plants at the farmers market in Sober. The Gallegos are famous for only buying what they can eat.

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