Vista Alegre Baserria Month by month in the farm
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September 2020 PDF Print E-mail

What did we do in September this year?

Five cows calved in September and we celebrated as a heifer calf

was born on September 2nd.

Two of the other four calves were bull calves and two mixed, dairy/

beef, so we will be selling them on.

What was the weather like?

The first three weeks of September were unusually warm and dry

with a high of 35ºC. Even dawn temperatures were high many

mornings, over 20ºC in fact. We only collected 30 litres of rain in

the rain gauge during those weeks. The weather then changed

quite drastically and we had another 92 litres in only three days,

maximum temperatures fell to 17ºC and the minimum dropped to 8ºC.

There are many signs of global changes in weather patterns (“climate

change”) including this cherry tree in flower in September.


What did the cows eat?

The cows grazed every day, but the increasingly sparse amount of

grass available (due to the weather) meant we also gave them

forage such as dried peas, alfalfa and grass silage, plus a little


Flower of the month: Tomato (Solanum lycopersicum).

Tomatoes are thought to have been incorporated into our diet about

2600 years ago. The tomato species is native to Central America,

Mexico and the north and north east of South America and the plant’s

name comes from  xītomatl in náhuatl. Tomatoes are cultivated

throughout the world nowadays and eaten both fresh and processed.

We find cherry tomatoes are best suited to conditions in our allotment,

even the local, naturalised tomato species tend to rot. Recently

tomato seeds tend to overwinter in the soil and germinate quite

happily in the spring, another sign of climate change.

Recipe of the month: Tomato and fig tarts

Many thanks to Granny who forwarded this recipe, just as figs are

ripening nicely. The recipe had been posted on the British Tomato

Growers Association website. The original uses goat´s cheese,

however this can be substituted with other cheeses such as Vista

Alegre Baserria fine cheese.

250 g puff pastry

1 tbsp dried mixed herbs

225g vine-ripened cocktail tomatoes

12 cherry tomatoes

5 fresh figs (or more depending on species/size fig: big ones best)

140g strong cheese: goat’s cheese, fine cheese…

3 tbsp red pesto sauce

2 tbsp runny honey

Sprinkle herbs over the pastry and then roll out thinly to a thickness

of ½ cm. Cut the pastry into circles of 9cm diameter. Place on a

baking tray previously lined with non-stick baking paper and prick

each circle with a fork at regular intervals. Chill pastry for 20 minutes.

Preheat oven to 220ºC.

Slice cocktail tomatoes and figs and halve cherry tomatoes. Spread

a little pesto sauce over each circle and arrange tomato and fig

slices on top. Top each tart with two cherry tomato halves. Crumble

cheese and sprinkle on top. Drizzle each tart with a little honey.

Bake in oven for 12-14 minutes and cool on a wire rack for five

minutes before serving.

Apart from the usual farm chores, we have removed dock plants

from fields before their last cut,

slurry spread, muck spread,

topped some fields and tended the cows’ hooves.

There are still many butterflies around such as this peacock (Aglais io)
and we have also seen quite a few dragonflies.

Bees are still collecting nectar and pollen.


The situation regards COVID is still very worrying. So far nobody

in the dairy has been infected and we continue to take all the

measures we can to avoid problems. The Farmers’ Market in Bilbao

is still being held every Saturday with strict health and safety


The quality of our milk


Optimum result

Farm result

Fat content









Somatic cell count



Presence  / absence antibiotics




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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