Olives and Acorns is a smallholding on 5 hectares of stunning countryside in Castelo Branco region of Central Portugal. It's been 5 years since we've started our journey, and we finally feel like we know a bit more about what we are doing and can pass that knowledge along.
We've started our farm enamoured with principles of permaculture, but the project evolved into a mishmash of different agricultural ideas, homesteading methods and anything else that works in harsh dry Portuguese summers. We are loving our experiments and are constantly looking how to improve things even more!
I guess you can say that we are a homestead, aiming for as much self-sufficiency as possible, growing veg organically all year round, raising livestock for food, preserving what we harvest and building infrastructure when and as needed.
We keep sheep, pigs, goats, chickens, ducks, quail, 3 adorable and well behaved dogs and a mob of farm cats. They are all well loved, free to roam and cared for really well. We respect people who follow principles of vegetarianism and veganism, but please be aware, that in spring and autumn we do slaughter our excess livestock for food. If you want to volunteer at this time of year, we'll either give days off at that time if you don't want to participate, or show you the ropes if you want to learn those particular skills.
We milk our goats, make cheese, soap, cream, butter, ice cream.
We scythe, shear sheep, garden, make a ton of preserves, dry and ferment fruit, make sorbets, do some building work, clearing, tree planting, fencing, decorating with folk art, take care of our animals, fish in local lakes, do crafts and party, of course!
We've pretty much finished with heavy duty building work, and instead are looking for people to help us with our day to day chores, so we can slow down after hectic first 5 years. So, if you are energetic and enthusiastic individual/couple with interesting skills or a trade, we would love to have you here. We are looking for minimum of 2 weeks stay and up to 6 weeks depending on how we would get along.
You will have a comfortable caravan to stay, a communal shower and kitchen with a patio area, a composting toilet and access to a washing machine. We have books, TV series, movies and Internet. You will be making your own breakfast, but we'll provide lunch and dinner 5 days a week you work with us. We'd expect you to make your own meals from our produce on your days off.
If you have your own transportation, caravan/motorhome, there is plenty of space on our land where you can park up. The local village has a bus stop with buses going to the nearest towns twice a day, it's also a perfectly idyllic countryside for cycling. Monsanto medieval village, Boom festival, Penamacor, Castelo Branco are all within 20-40 km radius from us.
We love making good food from many different cuisines, so if your cooking or baking skills are rusty, we'll be happy to share our knowledge.
We are in a secluded property but don't consider ourselves isolated at all. We are lucky to have a solid community of like-minded people around, and there will be many social gatherings you are welcome to attend with us during your stay.
There is a simple, friendly atmosphere and down to earth, practical experience for those who need one in order to move onto your own adventure. We cook meat or fish 3-4 days a week, and vegetarian meals other times. If you are vegan, please let us know in advance as we best can accommodate you in summer months when there is a lot of produce in the garden. We would probably have an arrangement in place where we cook for you a couple of times a week but supply you with the ingredients from the garden the rest of the time so you can cook what you need yourself.
If you have any questions, just email us and we'll be happy to help! Looking forward to hearing from you.
Alex and Karina
Cooking / shopping
Help with Eco project
Help in the house
You can learn how to manage a small-holding confidently and about a myriad of tasks involved in it :) You can learn new skills and meet a lot of great like-minded people. We are here for extra help and hoping to learn some new skills from you too! We would love to practice our Portuguese if you speak it. All the best, Alex and Karina
You would need to help with general chores on the farm: garden maintenance, animal care, and projects dictated by seasons: building, harvesting, making preserves, planting, collecting wood, etc. We are looking for a couple/a person at certain times of the year for a variety of tasks. A few days house/farm sitting might be involved.
English, Russian, a bit of Portuguese
A comfortable caravan, a communal shower, kitchen, patio with a composting toilet.
There are lakes and parks around and one of the most beautiful medieval villages in Portugal, Monsanto. Spanish border is very close. Lots of interesting villages to explore on a bicycle. Medium sized towns of Penamacor and Idanha-a-Nova, big cities of Castelo Branco and Fundao. Stunning countryside.
Limited internet access
We have pets
We are smokers
Maximum 4-5 hours a day, 5 days a week