There’s nothing to gripe about!
#coldmeats #goatcheese #spain #yogurth
Reaching El Bucarito without being noticed is next to impossible. When you turn off the main road in the direction of the farm about a dozen pairs of eyes follow you. El Bucarito’s alert welcoming party takes the form of a large herd of milking goats. The brown and white animals belong to the ‘Florida’ breed which were up to a few years ago hard to come by. An important reason why the biologist, Carlos Ruiz-Mateos Fernández, decided to choose this breed when he extended the family’s piggery to include goats.
A wide range of cheese
El Bucarito lies near Rota, situated just a few kilometres north of Cadiz in the middle of a barren steppe countryside. ‘This vegetation is very suitable for keeping goats,’ explains Carlos’s wife, Yolanda Maya Lamas, who is responsible for the marketing of the farms own products and visitors to El Bucarito. Yolanda takes us into the cool farm shop in which different sausages and whole pig shanks hang from the ceiling. In the large fridge cabinet you will also find many different varieties of cheeses. ‘We began in 2011 with cheese production,’ tells Yolanda. Within a few years the Ruiz-Mateos family had built up a wide range of products, from full cream cheese to fresh cheese with traditional flavours to soft cheese wrapped in herbs and more unusual flavours like ‘Tintilla Rota’ which is a cheese submerged in a typical sweet wine of the region. All of these creations are produced with the help of five employees who can partially be seen working in the background of the shop.
Innovative despite a military base
Yolanda takes us for a tour through the production halls and out into large pens where the goats are kept. Connected to these are paddocks. This area of the farm is where approximately 500 fully grown goats live. Alongside them are 10 to 12 billy goats which are responsible for the continual production of off spring for El Bucarito. Behind the goat pens the pigs are housed and from them homemade sausages and meat products are produced. ‘We farm a total of about 200 hectares of land, this ensures concentrates for our animals,’ tells the owner. The resulting manure and animal rests are used as fertiliser for the fields. In this way the Ruiz-Mateos family maintain an intended cycle. Locally grown feed for native goats and pork meat that is present in many of the regional dishes. This innovative concept stands out in the locality because all around Rota there is a large US military base. ‘The base creates a lot of employment but through this the locals have lost innovative creativity for their own projects,’ explains Yolanda.
Much loved products
Many locals and tourists visit the farm and take a piece of local culinary delights home. We too stocked up with cheese and each time we try one we are reminded to the bleating fence hosts who attentively watched us come and go. Whereby, I’m still not sure if I didn’t see a goat wink at me!