With fond memories and best wishes Santorini recently bid farewell to our wonderful Felisberto. After 11 years at the helm of the Santorini family Felisberto has retired at the age of 74. Felisberto was and will remain a father figure to most of the Santorini team. He was the go to man to mediate any situations among the team or with the local community with his wise words, kindness and patience. Felisbertos passion and legacy at the villa has provided our kitchens with the most incredible organic produce. From a humble start in 2011 with only a few crops at Santorini our garden grew along with his passion and in 2018 we built a 24 raised bed garden where Felisberto spent most of his working days.
His love for growing produce started as a small project to help his family with much needed food during the dry season and since he lives very close to one of the inland lakes he had the water for a vegetable garden. He started by growing the normal vegetables needed by the family, cabbages, tomatoes, onions and maize. By the 2nd year the garden was made a bit bigger and thus started producing a bit more and he ended up with a few extra vegetables which he started sending out with his wife to sell on the streets of Vilanculos town and at the Local market. He would help his wife with the selling and it was during these market days that he met some people from lodges in town and they started making some orders of fresh vegetables from him.
His garden started producing more of a variety to meet his customers’ demands and they started ordering herbs and vegetables that he was not growing. He could not get some of the seeds locally and he had to ask some of his customers to buy some seeds for him whenever they travelled to different provinces. His vegetable garden quickly turned into a proper garden with butternut, lettuce, pepper, herbs, cucumber, carrots and a variety of other vegetables. Customers are still today going to his garden to buy and they don’t have to go to town to sell the vegetables anymore. People are even coming from neighbouring villages to buy vegetables with him and this makes him very proud.
He continuously loved the peace and quiet over the last 11 years of the JARDIM DE POMONA vegetable garden and not needing to work under pressure but rather spending each day with the rhythm the growing plants created.
Felicberto is a family man with 17 children who all grew up appreciating his love for sustainability and growing food from the earth.
Famous for his green fingers, Felicberto dreams to continue working in a vegetable garden at his house in Vilanculos. He also dreams about one day owning a bus to use for public transport for the local people who some walk great distances to and from work daily.
On a recent visit to Felisbertos family home he told us that In 2011 during some of the landscaping of the villa he took a branch from a small tree planted at the front of main villa and planted it at his house. That branch grew into the most beautiful tree that perfectly shades his home and front garden. The tree at Santorini has also grown so tall and reminder to us both of his years and commitment and to be forever connected in this way.
To good health and happy days we celebrated Felisberto with a farewell party at the Villa on his last day of work. The staff sang and danced in celebration while he enjoyed a special cake.
“If you wish to make anything grow, you must understand it, and understand it in a very real sense. ‘Green fingers’ are a fact, and a mystery only to the unpractised. But green fingers are the extensions of a verdant heart.”