When you look around the island, you won’t see fields of oats and barley growing or orchards of apples adorning the landscape. Instead what you will find is small, succulent shrubs scattered across the rocky terrain. Shrubs which were once the main diet for the local people that lived here.
An Article by Bernie Power with The Voice Fuerteventura
Seeds And Grasses
From the earliest times seeds, from various wild grasses and certain drought tolerant plants like cofe-cofe or cosco that still grow all around, were toasted and ground to make flour. This could be done at home with a hand mill or at the local windmill or tahona which means bakery. Nearly every village had one and people would walk miles to get to it.
Often making use of donkeys to help share the burden of the weight. There the flour would be mixed with milk, water or stock to make a thick soup and sometimes a dough was made to bake as bread or mixed with dried fruit and cinnamon for a sweet treat. For centuries this was the staple diet here and it is still enjoyed today.
Murder In The Mountains
The droughts that frequently occurred across the island, caused devastation to both man and his animals. There is even a report of a murder in Los Risquetes, which is near the village of Villaverde, over an ownership dispute regarding a patch of weeds.
Male And Female Windmills
In good times and bad, the windmills that you will see dotted around the island today are a testimony to the previous importance of the grain industry here.
Many windmills have been demolished over the years, but those that remain are fascinating buildings. The big round ones called Molino are considered to be male windmills and look magnifificnet, but they are not quite as productive as the Molinas or female windmills, which look skinnier and are only a single story high.
There are not many windmills that are still functional around the island, but the recently restored La Molina de Asomada is and has begun production once again. You can find this beautifully maintained windmill on the right, just before the technology park on the way to Puerto del Rosario. But, before you get there you will pass through Tetir and you will have to slow down as there is always road construction. But when you do, take a look to your left as you will also see a stone building with a machine outside and a large car park. This is a unique toasting factory where the grains are still traditionally prepared by Molinero Fransisco, who will happily show you around and passionately explain his craft to you. You can even sample his wares and buy some to take home with you, all prepared and made in the traditional way.
Although the grain industry has made way to tourism, the windmills make great photo opportunities or subjects for the budding artist. And if you want to have a look at both of the different types, then head to Tefia in the middle of the island and there is one of each, standing proud. Majestic reminders of days gone by.