At the foot of the Gavarres, outside the village of Cruïlles, is the Arboreco tree nursery, where Italian-born Marco Sangiorgio decided to create this place for reproducing endangered heritage and, while he was at it, earn himself a living. It specialises in traditional fruit tree varieties, which have survived the more modern varieties, and which, beyond their
sentimental, genetic or cultural value, undoubtedly work best in what should be a truly sustainable fruit growing industry.
-How did you start?
–I worked in Italy in a nursery recovering traditional varieties, but when I wanted to go into business by myself I decided to come here. I began from scratch, with just this small field in Cruïlles and I now have two more. It’s a slow process but is steadily growing. Now, through the website, clients reach us from all over Spain.
-What are your clients looking for?
I have two client types: those that are looking for ecological agriculture and those that want traditional varieties. Most people are interested in both, but not everyone. Some are interested in
these varieties but are not planning to look after them ecologically. Some want to practice ecological
agriculture regardless of the varieties. But I grow traditional varieties because that’s what works best with ecological fruit growing: they adapt best to the climate, are tolerant to local diseases and need fewer chemicals. They’re not as productive as modern varieties as they haven’t been created, designed and selected to give kilos and kilos of fruit every year and to last 10 or 20 years before they stop producing.
-You have more than 150 varieties of traditional and native fruit trees. Are some difficult to find?
–Some have been hard, but I’m not a natural collector. What is true is that many varieties have been lost, which is a shame. I’m interested in preserving agricultural biodiversity in general and fruit trees in particular.
–What is your dream?
Finding traditional varieties, preserving them, reproducing them and spreading them is my dream. I want them back in our local markets. I believe all
agriculture should be ecological. It’s unsustainable that it’s cheaper to get apples from Chile than Catalonia.
Carrer de la Font, 2 – Cruïlles
Tel. 650 742 502
Hours: to be arranged (by appointment)