Vista Alegre Baserria Month by month in the farm
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December 2019 PDF Print E-mail

What happened on the farm in December?

Flower of the month: Coriander (Coriandrum



Coriander is thought to be native to the eastern

Mediterranean although it is now found worldwide

in warmer climates. The upper leaves tend to be

more feather than the lower ones. The fruits/seeds

are collected for both medicinal and culinary purposes.

The plant has no forage value

We went to the Farmers’ Market in Bilbao every Saturday except

the 21st when the big Santo Tomas fair is held in Bilbao. Once again,

many stall holders are going to send proposals to improve this fair as

many stalls are in places with very little passersby and yet are not

allowed to clear away until 10pm when there are hardly any sales in

the afternoon.


Recipe of the month: Vegetable mix with cheese soft spots

At this time of year the amount and variety of fresh vegetables

available in the allotment diminishes rapidly.  This is when we use

up some of the vegetables we have either bottled or frozen. Bottled

and frozen vegetables are never the same as fresh vegetables from

a nutritional point of view and their texture and taste often change.

Traditionally bottled vegetables, and more recently frozen vege-

tables, were simply a way of storing part of a harvest for use in the

winter months. This recipe uses both fresh vegetables such as carrots,

brussel sprouts, broccoli and leeks that we still have growing in the

allotment and green beans from our previous harvest that we have


300g sliced green beans

150 g sliced carrots

100g broccoli (or about 10/12 small heads)

200g brussel sprouts

6 small or three large leeks, cleaned and sliced

1 large onion, finely chopped

2 tablespoons olive oil.

200g soft cheese

Salt, pepper and herbs to taste

Steam all the vegetables, except the onion, until cooked but not

soft. Sauté the onion in olive oil until soft . Mix the onion with the

steamed vegetables and salt, pepper and herbs to taste.

Cut the cheese into small half inch cubes and sprinkle into the

vegetable mix just before serving, or alternatively place several

cubes on the vegetable mix of each helping, leaving enough time

for the cheese to melt slightly before eating.

The range of vegetables can obviously be adapted to the time of

year and sort of vegetables available. For a stronger taste more

herbs can be added or stronger flavoured cheese. The idea is to

experience contrasting tastes and textures whilst eating this dish.

What was the weather like?

We had mixed weather in December with some sunny days, some

cloudy and wet and some just dull. The driest weather was at the

end of the month, with very cold morning temperatures, of 2ºC but

unusually warm midday temperatures of up to 15/17ºC. We collected

a total of 147 litres in the rain gauge.

What did the cows eat?

The cows ate alfalfa, silage, hay and a little feedstuff. The damp

conditions  meant the cows still couldn’t graze despite there being

abundant grass in the fields. The dry cows and heifers, on the other

hand, did graze outside quite often.


Each day we check the heifers to make sure they are all there, no

unforeseen health problems have developed or if, for example, they

are ready for insemination, the latter occurring on the 25th:  we

had to call the vet who came out immediately to inseminate one of

the heifers.


We once again donated pasteurized milk to the Bizcayan Food Bank

for the needy living in Bilbao.


Irantzu and Jone finished the R+D project on identifying the uses of

plastics on the farm and in the dairy and proposing alternative materials

to minimize such uses. The proposals include some practical steps we

can take in 2020 such as bags and pots (for our fresh cheese, right

hand pot in photo) made of vegetable starch–based materials.


Amongst other chores we have topped some of the

slopes on the farm, basically clearing patches of nettles.


Two bull calves were born in December and the dirth of heifer calves


Miren, who has been part of the Vista Alegre Baserria work team for

quite a few years, announced that she is pregnant and has taken

maternity leave. Our thanks to Miren for the time spent with us and

we look forward to hearing about her baby.

The quality of our milk


Optimum result

Farm result

Fat content









Somatic cell count



Presence  / absenceantibiotics




Special corner for schools: visit our special corner for schools for special information about our farm and the farm dairy. There are resource materials for teachers. In this corner you can find out how to arrange a class outing to our farm.

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