Andalucia has a rich tradition in agriculture which has had a huge influence on the landscape and culture. The regions climate offers obvious benefits, but also the diversity of the climate within this area means that a wide variety of crops can be grown within the region.
The Alpujarra mountains offer a fantastic opportunity for people interested in organic growing as the difficulty of the terrain has prevented large-scale chemical exploitation, typical of conventional agriculture. The overall ruggedness of the terrain has instead ensured that traditional, centuries-old practices have remained and these are now becoming valued for being ‘organic’ farming methods.
The Alpujarra includes a variety of different ecosystems. There are bananas growing in Tijolas, near Órgiva, Oranges, lemons, avocados and semi tropical trees in the lower Alpujarra regions, Chestnuts in the higher Alpujarra and olives and almonds in almost every farm. Grape vines do well here. On the Contraviesa mountain range there are huge cork oak forests, almonds and grape vines.
The region is also famous for its livestock: black Iberian pigs are raised at liberty in oak forests giving us gourmet dry-cured jamon and spicy sausages (chorizo). The rolling interior mountains are home to flocks of goats and sheep; goats roaming on the rough mediterranean scrub; sheep grazing on pasture under olive trees. Bee keeping is also very successful in the region(there being an abundance of flowering plants and trees throughout the year) and hives can be seen in many locations.
Currently organic farming represents the most realistic and attractive economic alternative to conventional agriculture, so that more young farmers are deciding to stay in the rural areas. Prices for olive and almond crops have decreased hugely in recent years and people are looking into ways to get a better turn over.
This region now benefits from a large agricultural collection centre in Los Tablones de Órgiva. Called Las Torcas. Where a large building has been constructed which is acting as a warehouse for all alpujarra produce so that it can be distributed on a wider scale and more effectively.