Apart from the rented accommodation for tourists we also have a number of houses that are let out to long term tenants (Casa de Cima das Malvas, Casa do Feitor and Rua de Comboio 50). Typically these were the main source of income for the maintenance of the Quinta. These days we have moved more to short term lets for tourists (Quinta das Malvas and The main house), and believe this is a more appropriate response given the circumstances of both market demands as well as the opportunity of offering something unique that people value and appreciate.
We try to keep the Quinta presentable at all times of the year so people can appreciate the space, the vineyard and the gardens. This involves a bit of maintenance from our staff who are also employed to run a small agricultural business that produces herbs, lettuces and Aloe vera (also visitable). It also leases land to other producers (the vineyard is managed by the family Madeira Wine Company).
We also let out spaces to artists and people interested in craftsmanship.
Currently we have one ceramicist on site whose works are slowly growing, offering goods for visitors and workshops on and off the property amongst other activities (https://www.facebook.com/CruBarro).
We also have illustrator, Andreia Nóbrega , whose work starts from a deep immersion in the natural world, through contemplative observation of spaces, landscapes, and plants along pedestrian paths. From this intimate encounter and from the registration and collection carried out, unique landscapes are born, reinterpreted and always reinvented, in a continuous search for the hidden essence.
At the core of the Quinta is the people we employ. Alberto our foreman “faz tudo” (does everything) from sowing seeds to tractor maintenance to nasty jobs of unblocking drains. Then Marcelina, who works in the preparation of the main house for guests, helps in the maintenance of the garden and is generally always available to pick up the loose ends when her boss asks (not an easy task!). Sr Agostinho, works as our part time gardener, he also helps out on the farm on Tuesdays our delivery day, when we all lend a hand to harvest the produce and prepare them for delivery.
Of course other important faces come into the mix….. Margarida is our housekeeper and cook at Malvas, whilst Miguel helps keep track of the accounts and endless paperwork. I try to keep the ball rolling in a steady direction, but like to get involved on the hands on part of things when time affords.
Overall the Quinta feels more and more like a shared space, which holds different use and meaning depending on whether you are visitor staying in one of the houses, a long term tenant or that you work here too. I believe there is enough space here for people to enjoy and feel at home whatever is their role in interacting with the place.
The Quinta holds enough space for these different activities to go on without too much interference from one space to the other……it’s a community of people who end up enjoying working, living and using the Quinta in different ways.