I don’t often go out towards the East of the island unless I am on a mission to find the best tasting strawberry in Mallorca. I found it on the MA-19A road to Llucmajor at the turning marked with rock with a strawberry painted on to it.
The rock is the signpost to the entrance to Fresopolis, an organic public farm where you can pick those strawberries and buy fresh vegetables free of chemicals and pesticides. I was there last weekend to try the berries and to check out the “Herb Witch” who I had read about on a Facebook post. The witch’s real name turns out to be Barbara.
She is originally from Argentina but lived in Ibiza for more than twenty years before recently moving to Mallorca and taking up a position at Fresopolis. Barbara will be running workshops for children and adults in permaculture and gardening, but in the meantime has been educating visitors about the medicinal uses of herbs. After she had told me about the properties of the herbs that they grow on the land, Barbara showed me around the grounds of the project: the vegetable garden, the fruit trees and the animals.
They have peacocks, chickens, ducks, rabbits, guinea pigs, pygmy pigs, goats, sheep and more but this area is only open to Fresopolis members currently, (if you want to join them they have a scheme which you contribute to).
I also got my hands on some of the strawberries which were extraordinary: full of flavour and so sweet, like the produce that your grandma used to talk about, or at least mine did.
You can buy fresh and dried herbs at Fresopolis, including these:
Basil has strong antioxidant and antimicrobial activity. It is traditionally thought to stimulate the appetite and ease stomach upset. In Chinese medicine, basil is thought to support kidney function and ease gum ulcers. In classic Indian medicine, basil has been used to treat everything from earaches and itching to malaria, arthritis and anorexia.
Chamomile is said to take away weariness and pain/inflammation of the bowels. The oil from the flowers can be used against many pains and aches, including joint cramps. Chamomile is also helpful in healing migraines and regulating menstrual periods.
Lavender prevents fainting and eases nausea. In oil form, it is often used in therapeutic baths to reduce stress. It can also lower blood pressure. A small amount makes a useful application on skin diseases like eczema and psoriasis. Lavender is approved by Germany’s Commission E for loss of appetite, insomnia and circulatory disorders. In folk medicine, it is often used to treat migraine, cramps, restlessness and sleep issues.
Oregano is traditionally used to treat respiratory issues such as stuffy noses and coughs and is an expectorant. In folk medicine, it is also used to treat menstrual cramping and it has very potent antimicrobial activities.
Sage improves appetite and eases inflammation, particularly of the mouth. For nursing mothers who may be experiencing over-production, sage can help to slow milk production. Sage is helpful for head pains, hoarseness and coughs. It is one of the best known remedies for laryngitis, tonsillitis and sore throats. An infusion of the herb sweetened with honey is mildly laxative and stimulates menstrual flow.
Keep an eye on the Majorca Daily Bulletin What´s On page for any up and coming events at Fresopolis for families, or get in touch with them yourself. www.fresopolis-mallorca.com
Climb every mountain
The 6 Points Challenge, which has been running for the past five years, is an organised tour of the island which raises vital money for charity. It has proven very popular with many cyclists, but it was noted that cycling in general seemed to be more popular with men than women, so Amy Williams, a resident of Mallorca and an experienced cyclist and guide, and the committee of the 6 Points Challenge have got together to try to encourage more women to get on their bikes and give it a go.
Aware that a three day long ride may not be practically achievable for some, a new event in the 6 Points calendar has been launched: the 6 Points Ladies´ Challenge, which is now open for registration. The bike ride will take place on 31st October and will be 75km from Alaro out to the Monastery at Randa. From the top there are 360°views of Majorca which are worth the effort to get there. Amy, who is leading the ride, says it’s a manageable climb. The pace will be social and “no-drop”.
All funds they raise will go to Yachting Gives Back, who in turn support a range of smaller island-based charities. They will collectively fundraise starting in September using a Spanish funding platform similar to Just Giving. To prepare for the ride Amy is leading weekly rides from Alaró starting in September for training and confidence building.
You can contact Amy on +44 7855 255850 for any questions and visit www.6pointschallenges.com/ladies-challenge-registration to register, there are only a couple of weeks left to get your name down.