Saturday, 19 December 2015

Quince...What is it all about?

"The quince (/ˈkwɪns/; Cydonia oblonga) is the sole member of the genus Cydonia in the family Rosaceae (which also contains apples and pears, among other fruits). It is a small deciduous tree that bears a pome fruit, similar in appearance to a pear, and bright golden-yellow when mature. Throughout history the cooked fruit has been used as food, but the tree is also grown for its attractive pale pink blossom and other ornamental qualities." Wiki

Yes... a couple of years ago I also had no idea that this fruit existed, let alone that it has been around us, on the Maltese islands, for the past 500 years or so. The Maltese name is Sfarġel (farmers we work with and some online articles also refer to it as Sfejġel). Somehow, maybe because of its scattered presence, through lack of awareness or due to expansion of imports, this mysterious fruit faded away into the lands of the forgotten - at least for the large part of today's generations.

Lately however, thanks to the revival of local products, we are observing a renewed interest in the fruit and our aim is to learn more about it. It is already clear from what farmers recount, together with modern studies, that the health benefits of quince are not to be discounted - they include anti-inflammatory properties, treatment of stomach ailments, antioxidant properties... the list goes on...

photo by jeanette borg
'Merill' Quince Jam - photo by lindsey cauchi

If you're the hands-on type of person (and you manage to get your hands on some of this fruit, here's a recipe for quince jam I found on this great blog.

Have you tasted the jam... how would you describe it? Do you have some more information on this fruit? We would love to hear from you and learn more. Leave us a comment here below or connect with us on Facebook, Twitter or email.

Thursday, 17 December 2015

Eco Hampers & Gifts 2015

We started assembling local 'eco' hampers even before we launched our rural and eco tours, back in 2011! The idea was simple enough: build a network of hard-working farmers and artisans, and empower them to continue producing 100% local and genuine products. As time went by, we realised that accomplishing the idea was not so simple, but we're getting there... and year after year our aim is to perfect the recipe. 

We avoid using plastic and other synthetic material, that's why you might find used magazine paper as a bedding material, and the boxes are up-cycled from used veg crates or else we use recycled wood.  

The Merill Rural Network
  • WHY? Because we really want to make a difference.
  • WHERE? We pride ourselves to offer products that are exclusively from the Maltese Islands.
  • HOW? Local farmers and artisans are empowered to produce genuine local products of premium quality. This way we enable them to sustain generations of traditions.
  • WHO? The Merill Rural Network brings together a number of hard working farmers and artisans. Along with their families they passionately maintain our landscape, while providing us with delicacies and handmade works of art.

The video features a small selection of our eco gift ideas. Since our quantities are very small, and also because we like to prepare custom hampers for each client, we do not publish full catalogues. Please contact us for a detailed quote on 99443118 or email us on