The Alt Pirineu Natural Park is an idyllic place to live, but it is not always easy to find a job. When Pedro Zurita Ayala left Molins de Rei to go live in Araós (Pallars Sobirà) he chose to create his own job. That is how this electromechanic ended up dedicating himself to the cultivation of medicinal plants eight years ago now. Shortly after, Gemma Navas Garcia, Zurita's partner, who is a technical engineer by profession, joined the project. Originally from Papiol, Navas decided to go live in the summer town 14 years ago, after requesting a transfer from the bank where she worked.
Zurita and Navas are the roots of the company Herbes de l'Alt Pirineu. "At the beginning we were dedicated to selling medicinal plants in bulk, but it is not profitable because the prices paid are very low due to competition from China," explains Navas. "Now we dedicate ourselves to the cultivation of the final product, especially infusions," adds Zurita. In fact, Herbes de l'Alt Pirineu infusions have become a souvenir of the area.
They have 1.5 hectares of crops located on old farms that the entrepreneurs have recovered and, in addition, they collect 20% of the production on five wild hectares in the nearby Virós forest. Herbes de l'Alt Pirineu items are made by hand and for packaging they use bags of non-transgenic corn. For marketing, they have their own small store in Araós and also sell through the website and third-party stores throughout the Pallars Sobirà region, Lleida, Girona and Barcelona.
The activity of Herbes de l'Alt Pirineu suffered a severe setback last December. A fire burned the home of the entrepreneurs, where they had a good part of the goods prepared to sell in the Christmas campaign. It was raining, as it was raining, since the company's production had already been reduced by 40% due to the strong summer heat. "We were about to abandon the project and find a job," confesses Navas. What gave them the strength to continue was a solidarity day in which neighbors, acquaintances and people related to the project came to help the entrepreneurs. Now, little by little, and with a lot of effort, Herbes de l'Alt Pirineu is flourishing again.