Shepherds and their sheep flocks are the key to understand the essence of Serra da Estrela. They are actually the soul of the place. When Spring comes, shepherds and their happy sheep go all the way up the Mountain, looking for fresh pastures, as the harsh Winter days have lingered away. Days are now longer and brighter.
The landscape of Serra da Estrela becomes a charming palette of inspiring colours. Everything blossoms and there is a promise of renovation in the air. The sheep graze at the heart of the Mountain, leading a peaceful life in harmony with the involving nature.
The brand Burel Mountain Originals, born in the wool-producing village of Manteigas - 45 minutes away from Covilhã - puts sustainability and environmental awareness on the forefront of its policies.
It is a zero waste company that uses no chemical products in wool washing, fostering local economy and respecting the pace of nature and the happy sheep. Shepherds call them by their names, which shows the bond that connects them. A true brotherhood. Bordaleira sheep is a native sheep breed, characteristic of Serra da Estrela and the North region of Portugal. These sheep are very sweet and have a medium height, a well-developed skeleton, muscular structure. They can be white or black and their weight may vary between 50 and 100 kg. The people of Serra da Estrela have domesticated Bordaleira sheep that gave them the wool that protected the Mountain inhabitants from the harshness of Winter and the milk, the basis of the fundamental cheese Queijo Serra da Estrela with Protected Denomination of Origin. Each sheep produces approximately 4 kg wool every year. After being sheared, the wool is tanned to remove impurities, washed, combed by hand and only then stored to be transformed into the burel wool. The sheep are sheared once a year, normally by the end of the Winter. This is a handmade process that is highly beneficial for the animals: it facilitates reproduction, eliminates parasites, makes them eat more to feed their babies and leaves them fresher for Summer time. Sheep shearing is an ancestral tradition made by wise hands, so that the sheep has no stress in the process.
Happy sheep are the soul of a sustainable wool production!