We are very close to the end of this semester and the Student Affairs Office invites all Study Abroad students to a walking adventure through an unexplored area of Valencia.
Together with music and art, Valencia is known for its long tradition of agriculture and his orchards are famous for their quality veggies and fruits. We’ll have the chance to try yummy horchata, eat freshly collected vegetables and try other typical products cooked “Valencian style”. Most importantly: we'll get to spend some quality time with the group as we prepare to say farewell to our 2016 Fall Study Abroad students!
Un "Poquito" de Historia (a little bit of history)
The Huerta de Valencia (fruit and vegetable orchard area), was born in the time of the Roman Empire, creating the city of Valentia, as logistical and hibernation center for its campaigns of conquest on Iberia.
They contributed with crops known as cereals, olive and vineyard. However these, and the conditions of the environment, were not productive enough.
Nevertheless, it served for its task of supply of troops as well as later in the campaigns of the visigodos. Leaving both the fields and the city abandoned.
What we know today as the Huerta de Valencia , was developed in the Middle Ages during the Islamic period, creating an important river infrastructure, mainly with the construction of ditches and azudes, small dams, that derived the waters from the strong avenues of the Turia and the ravines, managing to dry large swamps and irrigating the fields. It also promoted and developed various activities along these infrastructures as water mills, taking advantage of the flow that circulated through the ditches, such as laundries near the houses or farms. An interesting example of an orchard dependent on the city to obtain food was the orchard of Ruzafa, whose name in Arabic identifies precisely this type of urban orchards.
Thanks to these infrastructures the city of Valencia, as well as the populations of its surroundings were able to develop.
It was really created a rich productive space, the origin of the Huerta de Valencia is clearly of Andalusí epoch, as a consequence of the introduction of the Arab tradition (Yemen and Syria) of irrigation, as well as the North African Berbers. The products grown in it are very different, as a consequence of an independent society and tax. To the classic cultures that were already cultivated in Roman times, cereals, vine, olive trees, rice and chufa (tiger nut), are added as more characteristic of the humid zones, new vegetables in Al-Andalus like the eggplant and the artichoke, etc.
Since horticultural products were the par excellence crop, the name of this environment was taken from there.
The major ditches were ruled since the Muslim era by the water court, still in force today, which controlled the use and use of irrigation flows.
There are eight major ditches in the city of Valencia: Moncada, Tormos, Mestalla, Rascaña, Cuart, Mislata, Favara and Rovella.
In Spain, it usually refers to horchata de chufa (orxata de xufa), made from tigernuts, water, and sugar. Originally from Valencia, the idea of making horchata from tigernuts, comes from the period of Muslim presence in Valencia (from the 8th to 13th centuries). It has a regulating council to ensure the quality of the product and the villages from where it can come, with the Designation of Origen. The village of Alboraia is well known for the quality of its horchata.
It is served ice-cold as a natural refreshment in the summer, often served with fartons. Tigernut horchata is also used instead of milk by the lactose-intolerant.