Alcobaça is renowned for the quality of its agricultural products, a fact that historically originates from the work of Cistercian Monks from the thirteenth to the eighteenth centuries.
GRANJA DE CISTER aims to promote agriculture and disseminate agriculture of the region and its products, focusing on their quality and excellence.
This project run by the Alcobaça Agricultural Cooperative is of exceptional importance for the city, the municipality and the region.
The initiative is developed on 2 fronts: the creation of a large showroom, bringing together in one space the best agricultural products and promoting their production techniques and the relationship of harmony that the producers maintain with the environment and integration with nature; In parallel and in addition comes the SOMOS DA TERRA project, which aims to create farm tours (find out more Sightseeing Tours)
There is a strong historical tradition of agriculture in the Municipality based on the Cistercian community - horticulturist monks - who for seven centuries were lords of the region and became renowned nationally both for the innovation of their techniques and methods of production and the quality of their products. In fact, the excellent soil and climate of the region still give the industry a competitive edge in the Municipality.
The agricultural area covers around 11,000 hectares, i.e. 26% of its land area, employing directly and indirectly around 5,000 people. The actual number is much higher if we consider that there are many people who engage in farming as a complementary activity to supplement the meagre wages they earn in their jobs.
The dominant agricultural sectors in the Municipality are undoubtedly fruit growing and pig farming.
The importance of the former can be judged by the extensive acreage of orchards and fresh fruits, in particular for the production of apples and pears. The latter consists of herds of around 115,000 heads and represents around 25% of the production of the district of Leiria. Both sectors not only have great weight at a regional level, they also account for around 6.5% of activities nationally.
GRANJA DE CISTER pursues the following objectives:
This interactive osmosis will allow a set of integrated, interdisciplinary, systemic and more humanised initiatives to be pursued, linking better the people's needs with the local resources available, as can be seen in the systemic representation of the project.
At GRANJA DE CISTER, we place a high value on quality and tradition!
We select our producers in view of their certification, ensuring the food safety requirements necessary to show the excellent products of our region, with the whole context of production and processing being highly prized. This whole process is always supervised by our technicians, thus ensuring a product of excellence
The farms of the Cistercian monasteries represent an interesting economic model that allowed each monastery to subsist independently of secular society, especially in the first two centuries of the order.
When the Cistercian monastery was established in Chiqueda, the order had already existed for half a century in Burgundy and other European regions.
According to the Exordium Parvum compiled at the beginning of the New Monastery founded in 1098 in the Burgundian forest of Cister, the monasteries should be erected in a vast and fertile area, so that the resulting production would serve the needs of the house.
Because the principal farms with diversified production should not be created more than a day's march away from the monastery, the Cistercians brought by D. Afonso Henriques and his wife to Alcobaça founded, immediately, the Chiqueda farm, which was built around the first monastery and supplied it with vegetables, wheat and wine.
During the seventy years it took to erect the great church of Alcobaça and its monastic dependencies, the monastery, other gardens and lean-tos were created along the river, for example.
By 1227, Alcobaça monastery having already been established, there were twenty-six farms run by the converted monks, true managers of these farm houses. Chiqueda, Jardim, Mesão-Frio, Évora, Marrondo, Turquel, Almofala, Ferreira, Carvalhal Bem Feito, Vimeiro, Valbom, Salir, Alfeizerão, Bárrio, Valado, Colmeias, Cós, Bacelo, Framundo, Pescaria, Cela Nova, Ferraria, Daiz, Granja Nova and Souto surround the town of Cister, the Monastery of Santa Maria de Alcobaça, where the art of agriculture is taught to the peasants.
Geographical proximity ensures control over the farm until, two centuries later, leasing, ground rent or sale remove part of the land tenure from the landlord.
Forestry, pastoralism, orchards, vineyards, olive grove, fishing, salt and iron almost made some farms specialised producers, but the farmers and fishermen often neglected their own production to work on the lands belonging to the Cistercian landlord.
With effect from the end of the thirteenth century and the beginning of the fourteenth century, having sufficient residents to became settlements, many of these farms became villages, and were issued a charter by the monastery. King D. Fernando was the last major donor to the monastery with the fishing village of Paredes and the village of Pataias and its surrounding agricultural land. But, if ownership of the land was changing hands, the truth is that, by the beginning of the nineteenth century, the monastery had secured for itself possession of the threshing floors, the bread funds and the barns. By the sixteenth century it managed the flint sites and Alfeizerão operated the lime kilns of Pataias and ceramic production in the region.
From the fifteenth century, throughout Cistercian Europe, monastic farms ceased to be the property of the monasteries, with only a few farms remaining. In the case of Alcobaça, Val Ventos, with its olive groves and honey production, or Gafa with the largest vineyard in the Coutos which, according to Frei Manuel dos Santos, was given to the monastery by charter of King D. João III on 7 February 1530.