Nowadays you can still find baskets, rope, mats, bottle holders and novelty shoes on our local markets and every family has something made from esparto grass that they use on a regular basis. Just walking round the village this month I have noticed that all the older generation are putting large flat baskets out in the sunshine - on closer inspection they all contain tomatoes that will dry out in the sun and will be bottled to last throughout the winter.
There is a fear that this sustainable tradition will eventually die out as it competes against more cost effective methods and newer, more exciting ways to earn money. In my village the harvesting is still a big part of income for many locals and we even have facilities for treating the grass before it is used in the weaving. I hate to think this tradition will die out and hope that the older generations will pass on their knowledge to the younger generations.
In Igualeja (in the Province of Malaga) a woman’s cooperative has been formed to keep this tradition alive. After studying basket weaving for a year, a group of women launched the cooperative, backed by the Town Hall, and now have a museum where they sell the pieces they make.
There is a good website that sell a range of esparto grass products: