There are places where you go and fall in love with, and Préjano (La Rioja) is one of them. The Vía Verde from Arnedo to Préjano foretold that you are arriving at a very special place. Lurreko Aromatics farm belongs to the Red Natura 2000 and is located in a spectacular setting surrounded by huge mountains: Peña Isasa and Peñalmonte. The adjoining estates are made up of centenary olive and fruit trees, and in the centre, Lurreko Aromatics is like a flowery garden full of aromas and biodiversity.
Lurreko Aromatics has been running for 4 years and was born out of an interest in recovering aromatic and medicinal plants from the mountains in the area. Alex Yunkera is convinced of the importance of valuing the local species and varieties of plants and vegetables that nourish and heal us. The farm produces around 25 aromatic and medicinal plants of native varieties that have been reproduced from seeds and cuttings: hypericum, thyme, oregano, liquorice, wild mint, etc. But not only this, it also grows foreign plants with commercial potential, such as echinacea, which grows very well in this area, the aromatic French tarragon and the interesting valerian. In the greenhouse, the aromatic plants that are later grown on the farm are carefully reproduced. A meticulous work that requires time and dedication that Alex, together with the invaluable help of his mother Rosi, manages to carry out.
The aromatic herbs are harvested, dried directly on the farm with a self-built dehydrator made from recycled material, and packaged for marketing. They are also creating new blends of infusions for different uses. The latest is “Primavera Trompetera” with perilla and other plants with antihistamine properties, ideal for people allergic to grasses.
As other initiatives, diversifying activities and products is essential. Alex’s grandfather had a 2-hectare farm with ancient olive trees, a treasure to be valued. He recovered these olive trees and started to produce high quality extra virgin olive oil. His idea was not only to market oil, but to offer something more unique. By macerating the different aromatic herbs from his orchard with this oil, he obtains a unique product of great quality. Aromatic oils such as French tarragon oil, basil oil or mint and lemon oil surprise the palate with rounded and special flavours.
The latest proposal that is being carried out are educational and informative activities for children, families and anyone who wants to get to know Lurreko Aromatics beautiful farm and the wonderful world of plants. This farm was born with an informative vocation, so plants and trees are identified with their names and surnames.
Alex always speaks in the plural of Lurreko Aromatics as there are many hands and hearts that accompany and help him in this enterprise. Diverse people who generate strength and energy so that everything flows, just as it does on his farm. Biodiversity is a central value: nesting boxes, beehives, floral bands, vegetable garden with local varieties… They help the agro-ecosystem to be in balance.