Almond tree alert

IN ALL, 55 guests joined DarDeVaia, a cultural and social association from the Armação de Pêra area, on a recent trip to learn more about almond trees. The tour took the group to Tavira and Algoz in a bid to ascertain more about the state of the Algarve’s signature tree.

First stop was Tavira, to visit the Algarve’s Regional Agriculture Commission’s Experimental Centre (DRAAlg). Vasco Branco, a DRAAlg agricultural engineer and a dried fruits specialist, explained that the almond, or Prunus amigdalus, was once one of the Algarve’s main agricultural products, exported throughout the world. Nowadays, however, it is neglected and forgotten and runs the risk of disappearing altogether due to lack of maintenance and new plantations.

Branco explained that other parts of the country were beginning to recognise the value of the almond again. In Trás-os-Montes, in the north of Portugal, almond trees are being cultivated and promoted, not only as an agricultural product, but also for their value to tourism in the region.

The day was also filled with poetry readings and story telling about the almond and its role in the region. There were gastronomic treats, including a lunch at the restaurant Ribalta, in Algoz, with a menu of appetisers, fish and meat dishes, dessert, wine, juices, coffee and liqueurs, all with almond as a base. Musical entertainment was provided by the Grupo de Cantares Itinerantes da Cumeada (strolling singers) and there was a cookery lesson on how to make a traditional almond cake.

DarDeVaia’s president, Eng. Avantino Moreira, explained that one of the main goals of the association was to preserve Algarvean traditions and that the trip had been a great success. For more information on DarDeVaia, please contact Avantino Sousa Moreira on 96 555 8454 or 282 312 674.