Farm and guest house Archelao

by admin on 08/10/2013

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The visit at the farm and guest house Archelao started with having lunch where I could taste various typical dishes from the traditional Sardinian kitchen, among others pasta, olive oil, red wine, meat, cheese, fruits, vegetables, conserves and sweets, all of them prepared at the nearby farm and kitchen.

After lunch, which was kindly offered by Mr. Sandro Dessì, we were shown around the farm, starting with the citrus grove and the fruit grove from which the guest house receives fruits for making jams of pears, apples, oranges, apricots, plums, etc. Even though the cultivation is not organic, they try to limit the use of pesticides. If their fruit trees are attacked by insects, they ask for help from a body whose purpose is to help agriculturists in Sardinia (LAORE). Some of their employees will arrive, identify which type of insect is degrading the plants, and advise which type of pesticide to use in order to eradicate only the harmful insects, and not the useful ones. In addition, Mr. Dessì tries this approach only in case of a strong infestation, and most importantly, only apply pesticides to flowers or fruits which have just appeared. Thus, when the fruits are reaching maturity, the residues of the pesticide, which in general disappear about 10 days after having been applied, are negligible at the time of harvest.

Afterwards, we went to the enclosures where their animals live like calves, donkeys, pigs, and some horses. According to Mr. Dessì, the breeding is entirely organic, feeding them only barley, wheat, beans, peas, and maize all of which is bought from other farmers and milled at Archelao. We also passed a field on which were grazing sheep and goats from which the farm gets milk for producing fresh, aged, and semi-soft cheeses.

We also visited a small slaughterhouse in construction, highly wanted by Mr. Dessì such that the animals are slaughtered at the farm and avoiding unnecessary transport.

Next, we were shown the storerooms where the products of the farm are conserved and transformed by storing. In addition to wine, cheeses, hams, fruits, jams and olive oil were stored in the same room. A peculiar characteristic of this environment was the aroma of the fruits, which according to Mr. Dessì would pass their aromas to the hams and the cheeses, giving them a certain sweet and fruity taste.

This farm, like many others in Sardinia, receive children and the main purpose is to let the youngsters approach and become aware of life at a farm through educational itineraries and personal experience. Knowledge of the life of farmers is diminishing and Mr. Dessì and his collaborators hope that educational and fun activities at a farm will lead to that this knowledge will not be forgotten, but rather appreciated.

Some of the educational itineraries which are offered by this farm include:

  • The colours of nature
  • Leaves
  • Discovering tastes and smells
  • Irrigation of the fields
  • Fighting parasitic insects
  • Animals at the farm
  • The milk cycle

At the end of our visit, we passed a building in construction, making the farm seem to be expanding, in particular due to the enthusiasm of Mr. Dessì and his collaborators, all of them capable of running and bringing forth an enterprise this large in a creative way.

In other words, Archelao has convinced us. A particular gratitude goes to Mr. Dessì for his hospitality and availability. He has shown to be an attentive entrepreneur, not only regarding the farm and guest house, but also to his collaborators, really trying to do sustainable development as an alternative to the capitalist market and ever-growing consumption.

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