Wie zijn wij ENG
Open and hospitable
Comfortably withdrawn in the middle of nature. Panoramic views, and for most a very open view of the world. Quinta da Cerca offers the best of both worlds. When Bie Franssens and Dardo Min returned from a major journey through the American continent after working and studying in Belgium, they found a new home in Central Portugal. The nature of the land and the nature of the Portuguese determined their decision to build their future there. After 35 years they are as much Portuguese as they are Belgian. Their kids Lisa and Marco were born there and in turn chose a career in Belgium. Thanks to the large number of visitors, holiday makers and volunteers from lots of different countries, they have also encountered an abundance of (life) stories and acquired a variety of knowledge and know-how. A summer bar where beer is being poured and jokes being told (in many languages), where books and email addresses are being exchanged. Where a range of inspiring music is played. Evenings of hilarity as well as profundity. Dance and music performances, when groups show the results of their workshops. A worldly kitchen. Everything confirms their outlook on life.
“It is a pleasure to receive guests in this environment and to show them that a simple, welcoming, eco-friendly holiday naturally leads to refreshment and relaxation. People come here for nature, to be in contact with each other, for exchanges and the familiar atmosphere. We’re a small-scale establishment by choice, it is not because it is easier or because we’re hiding from anything. No person is a number here. The way to someone’s heart is through their stomach. The food and the atmosphere during meals do well around here. The constant offer of home-grown fruits and vegetables, complimented by food from the sea and local agriculture, ensure quality and culinary pleasure.”
“There is no destructive agriculture or forestry on our land. No planted eucalyptus, but organic horticulture and our own compost. The eco-friendly principles have been the rock of our approach from the beginning. That was new for this region and it was a lot of work. Now volunteers come and work in our garden every year to gain experience and to work in the beautiful surroundings. There have already been three fires in the region and on our terrain. Consequences of the sometimes pitiful nature and forestry policies ran by the government. We make the best of it by planting trees that are native to the region. It is incredible how nature recovers every time. As a chemist, I am very aware of irresponsible choices when it comes to nature, food and human nature. I often feel like Quinta is a meeting point and that it brings people back to the things that really matter.”
Work experience | Life experience
Many hands make light work, but there are almost never enough hands. The Quinta da Cerca project would not be able to exist without volunteers that take on all kinds of tasks.
Like for our horticulture. Quinta de Cerca has been a recognized guest address for WWOOF (World Wide Opportunities On Organic Farms, www.wwoof.net), a global network that acts as a platform to bring volunteers in contact with companies in organic agriculture. Wwoof’ing is very popular and attracts people from all over the world.
A source of enrichment for the garden and for the gardeners and owners. Others come and help and regard the Quinta as reference point to hit the reset button on their lives.
Anyone who is dedicated to the cause and participates, is welcome. Dardo and Bie will determine what the options are on a case-by-case basis.