At last we said as we headed out of Brisbane in mid May on a long awaited trip to the UK and Portugal. Our mission was to visit the cork forests of the Alentejo in Portugal and just hopefully see the cork harvest in action. Well mission accomplished!
In July 22 we flew into Faro on the south coast of Portugal and then made our way by road north into the Alentejo. We were immediately on the look out for cork trees and were were not disappointed as there were miles and miles of them. We were heading for the ancient Unesco protected city of Evora.
Evora is beautiful ancient city of cultural signifiance in the heart of the cork forest region.
Just outside Evora we visited Evoramonte where we were able to survey the vast forests from up high. Interesting fact : The cork tree is protected by law in Portugal.
To our delight, we came across the cork harvest. Piles of cork bark was waiting for collection having been harvested from selected trees in the area.
The number 2 was marked in recently harvested trees to indicate the year 2022. Cork trees are harvested every 9-10 years once they have developed into mature trees.
Cork bark is then stood for a few months to dry and then boiled, flattened and then shipped off to various factories for the making of cork products including fabric, flooring, wine corks. Only the finest quality cork is used for fabric.