Celebrating Three Years of Merill
Nature, culture, history and tradition: Merill showcase Malta’s enviable talent at crafting great produce.
Agriculture has been such an integral part of our story that even our small island’s name comes from the word ‘honey’; yet as time’s gone by, we’ve become detached from the productive process that goes into making our foods, with many never setting foot in a field or a farm.
Nevertheless, people, just like for millennia before them, are still working the land and making the most of our covetable weather to craft top-notch products that should be a benchmark for produce and not a speciality – and this is exactly what Merill are all about.
Last Sunday I was invited to their third anniversary get together, held at an orchard overlooking Gnejna Bay, an event during which Jeanette Borg, one of the founders of Merill, gave us a tour of this said orchard and explained to us how every inch of arable land is used to maximise productivity and produce.
We were then shown to a terrace, where simple yet delicious treats were created using products from the 20 or so farmers they are affiliated with, and even a simple combination of olive oil, honey and mint on a slice of Maltese bread tasted divine – and then it hit me: it’s really funny how we think we know what different foods taste like until we try the real deal.
I was pleasantly surprised to say the least, which is why I decided to interview Jeanette about how Merill is helping Maltese farmers reach out to the public and showcase their amazing products.
“I had been working in the local agriculture industry for a number of years when I realised that there was a potential to create a new concept that would take sustainable Maltese agriculture to a whole new level by means of rural tourism,” explains Jeanette Borg, founder of Merill.
“We first started off by organising Eco tours in Mellieha and Dingli, but it soon evolved into a farmers’ network which was only too willing to provide rural venues and Maltese delicacies to local and foreign visitors. Three years on, Merill is working with around 20 farmers and artisans from all over Malta and each of them provides us with either one or more amazing venues, while others share their genuine, artisanal products with us.
“Unfortunately, however, profits derived from agricultural products are always dwindling, particularly because agriculture in Malta is made up of small parcels of land where no big machinery can be used, thus making economies of scale something most farmers only dream of. We believe that the Merill rural network is an opportunity for both us as well as our members, however, as we work together to satisfy our clients with goods and services, which, in turn, helps farmers by increasing sales of local products.
“So far we’ve had a great response, and I want to invite anyone who is remotely interested in this to try one of our tours – we can guarantee that they’ll be pleasantly surprised by where we take them, what happens at these places and just how different high-quality products taste!”
You can find out more about Merill’s tours, farm visits and products by visiting their website, by e-mailing them at firstname.lastname@example.org or by following them on Facebook. All eco packages have 100% upcycled packaging and are embellished with fresh fruit and herbs.