We are happy you are thinking of volunteering at the Quinta da Luz and look forward to meeting you as you come to help in its continuing evolution.
It is important for all involved that before arriving you know what the Quinta is about. In that way you will ensure you gain the most from your time here. So please take the time to read the “The Quinta da Luz” page to be clear on what is happening at the Quinta and that you are the right volunteer for us! If you resonate with what you have read then send us an email telling us a bit about yourself and we can set up a Skype call to come to know each other better. Experience of working with granite and ‘sandy’ soils would be useful.
Some practical points:
We ask that our volunteers help us for up to six hours a day, five days a week during the Spring and Summer months with Saturdays and Sundays off. During the months when the days are shorter only five hours a day is really possible, five days a week with Saturdays and Sundays off. In return we will provide food and accommodation as well as the opportunity to experience the tranquility of the Quinta and the area.
Working times can be flexible and are usually determined by weather and what needs to be done. When you arrive let us know your preferences and what you wish to learn and we will take these into consideration when planning work.
As you may have gathered there is ongoing creation and evolution underway and so maintenance at the Quinta! Work includes gardening, pruning, weeding, water channel clearing, ground preparation, planting, cleaning ponds, wood chopping and stacking, pine needle collecting and bramble clearing to name a few. Depending on the season you may find yourself preparing ground, planting, picking or sowing seeds, and then there are our olive trees to tend! Picking the olives is usually from the end of November on. In August and September the focus is usually on irrigating, harvesting and processing produce such as tomatoes, peppers, aubergines, melon, sweet potatoes etc..
Each year in November or early December we pick the olives on our 84 trees. Since our first picking in December 2013, the record of kilos picked and olive oil returned from the lagar is:
2013 220 33
2014 140 14
2015 500 68
2016 – –
2017 465 70
In good years we also pick olives to eat, leaving them to soak for almost three months before combining with our own rosemary and garlic for our visitors, and ourselves to enjoy with our meals.
The need to prune the olives every year means at the end of each year there is also chipping and mulching to do, after harvesting. We are continuing to create a form and structure on the land, bring as much as possible into production so flexibility is essential.
We are open to hearing people’s ideas and inspirations, so please do set them out. They often provide an interesting topic for conversation at the meal times!
The diet at the Quinta is primarily vegetarian with lots of fruit, vegetables, greens, nuts and seeds. In the colder months we make soups, roast chestnuts and enjoy the cooler airs. Everyone that has visited has enjoyed the simpler diet and seems to go through a cleansing process and leave much healthier and calmer than when they arrived. With that said, everyone’s body responds differently to the diet so people are welcome to cook if they so wish.
Because we are interested in living a conscious holistic life we have a few rules to support this during your stay:
- No drugs
- No smoking – it is a major fire risk
- No drinking (other than an occasional glass of wine with a meal)
We have accommodation as set out in “The Quinta da Luz” page. If you are interested in coming please let us know the dates you are thinking about and how long you would like to stay. We prefer volunteers to stay at least a week, many have stayed far longer too!
We provide in each bathroom bio-degradable soaps and shampoos as we intend keeping the water as pure as possible for the next users and caretakers. We also provide towels.
Other things to bring – hat, work clothes and boots, sandals in the summer for pottering about. A musical instrument if you play one, or even just your voice and repertoire of songs! We are building our “educational” library for volunteers so we ask that if you wish please bring a book or other material that you are willing to leave behind. It is your choice if you want to have insurance that covers medical care including transportation home, accidents, and loss of property.
Make sure your insurer knows that you will be a volunteer on a working Quinta. Obtain a free European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) in case you need medical treatment whilst in Portugal, either as the result of illness or accident.
If you are interested in volunteering at our home please send an email to Caroline via the online contact form. Once we check on availability, we will contact you by email and set up a time to do a quick Skype call. For those of you looking for more of a challenge and preferring life under canvas and only basic facilities, you may be interested in volunteering at Quinta da Ribeira. Our two sons live here. Find out more of what is going on by visiting Bosque Verde´s Facebook page. It is possible to combine stays at both if you would prefer some comfort for a few days!
We look forward to meeting you and enjoying your stay at the Quinta.