About Cortijo Cornelio
Location: Cortijo Cornelio lies in a quiet valley in the heart of the Montes de Málaga, several kilometers from the mountain village of Colmenar. The farm covers approximately 45 hectares of rolling hills, in an idyllic, unspoilt setting, bordering the Montes de Málaga nature reserve.
Cornelio is situated in a quite unique location, at an altitude of 700 metres in Southern Andalucía.
Climate and soil: Cornelio enjoys a particular micro climate resulting from its location, varying from from cool and damp in the winter, and hot and breezy in the summer. It has a sedimentary, limestone geology and extraordinarily fertile land, but with dramatic topography, from lush pastures to vertical rocky cliffs.
History and Topography; Cortijo Cornelio is an old farm, dating from the 15th century or earlier. It has some olive trees said to be "older than the oldest cathedral in Spain", under the protection of the government of Andalucía for their genetic value.
The lands of Cortijo Cornelio include the cool, wooded river valley of the Arroyo del Zuque, where the last Arab commander of Comares, Hamed el Zuque, owned several cortijos, including the lands of Cortijo Cornelio.
In the past, Cortijo Cornelio was famous for its Málaga Wine, and indeed had its own label..... but this ended in the 1920's when production of Málaga wine declined suddenly.
Wildlife: The environment of Cornelio hosts a wealth of biodiversity: wild boar, foxes, reptiles, exotic insects, black vultures, hawks, spectacular eagles, nightingales, golden orioles, spectacular multi-coloured bee-eaters, wood-peckers and "hoopoo" birds, many birds of prey, rare orchids, a wealth of wild herbs, a sea of wild flowers, and turtles in the river.
Products: Because of its age and maturity, Cornelio has a very wide variety of productive trees on its land. The main crops are Olives and Almonds but there are also many huge oaks which yield "Bellotas" (delicious large edible acorns). Interspersed with these, Cornelio has many Fig, Pomegranate and Carob trees (Carob produces the famous chocolate substitute). The farm has a wealth of wild herbs - culinary, aromatic and medicinal, including some unique varieties of lavender.
Facilities: Everything that bears the "Cortijo Cornelio" label is grown, elaborated and/or packaged on this farm. Cornelio has two air-drying towers for herbs, and a small, well-equipped factory for production, a separate packing house and stock house.
Farming Practices: Cornelio is a traditional farm with a difference. Firstly, everything we do is designed to produce perfectly organic food. We also try to do this in a way which is highly sustainable, minimizes our CO2 footprint, and which respects the bio-diversity of this unique environment.
Because of this we do not permit the burning of fruit tree cuttings (this waste is shredded and converted into an organic fertiliser). We use collected rain water for summer irrigation to save precious ground water.
To reduce soil erosion, in general, we do not plough our land. Each zone of the farm is part of a cycle of a 3 year rotation to allow a "semi-wild" recovery period before returning to production again. This gives wildlife and wild plant species an opportunity to recover after tree pruning and maintenance and makes for a healthy "sea" of wild flowers!
Organic History: Cornelio was one of the first Organic farms registered and certified in Andalucía, more than 12 years ago, by CAAE. Our CAAE Organic Certification nr is 003546 and there are over 10,000 organic producers in Andalucia already!
Proprietors: Cornelio has been owned and run by its proprietors and their team for the last 13 years. We are totally committed to the sustainable organic principle and the production of high quality food. All the day-to-day farming activity and production is personally managed by the proprietors with the help of a small team of part-time agricultural helpers.
Husbandry and Silvaculture: In line with best silvaculture practice, every tree (of almost 10,000 trees) is treated as an individual. Every single tree in Cornelio is individually identified and its treatment and behaviour is logged, using a sophisticated database system linked to a GPS system. This ensures that trees are harvested at the optimal moment and receive remedial treatment in the event of disease or damage. It also helps us to make predictions about harvest times, quantities, and plan pruning if necessary.
An Iberian pig
Preparing a herb garden in Cornelio
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Fine Organic Products of Andalucia