Known as “El Tio Picho,” Anastasio Marcos Bravo was born in 1896 in Riomalo de Abajo, a small village of Las Hurdes, province of Caceres, in western Spain’s Extremadura. The literal translation of the village’s name is “Bad River Below,” but never mind the meaning, as it is quite misleading.
This unique land in Extremadura, known as Las Hurdes, is where it is said there is a “…constant embrace between man and nature.” Las Hurdes is bathed by five rivers, and the valleys that they carve out of the hills are covered with pines, olive groves, chestnut trees, fig trees, cherry trees, and century-old “madronos” or strawberry trees.
With the abundance of flowering vegetation, Las Hurdes is especially known for its magnificent honey and pollen. The harmonious and symbiotic relationship between nature and the “hurdano” artisans has traditionally fostered an amazing local culture of natural and original foods.
The distinctive culture in this unspoiled corner of Spain have barely changed over the years. The local communities of farmers, apiculturists, artisans, hunters and fishermen still rely on their old customs and hard work to create quality products that are unmatched anywhere.
Anastasio, a teenage orphan who loved to memorize and recite poetry in public, also taught himself to work with livestock to avoid starvation. Always having an entrepreneurial spirit, he later became a leather trader. He also saw an opportunity to support his growing family by opening a bakery in the village of Las Mestas, which was attracting surrounding communities to the area thanks to King Alfonos XIII’s establishment of medical, police and other services in the village or “alqueria.”
But if he didn’t have to provide for his eleven children, he might have just as well dedicated his life to poetry instead. The bucolic themes of Tio Picho’s poems ranged from shepherding to apiculture, and he played with tongue-twister rhymes and distinctive meter. El Tio Picho became known as the “Poet of Las Hurdes,”.
His beekeeper son later continued this tradition of poetry – but also a tradition of producing natural goods derived from Las Hurdes bees. In fact, this beekeeping family tradition was started by the father, but since then dramatically refined and expanded by the son. Since 1983, the El Tio Picho family business has offered an amazing variety of bee-derived products including honey, pollen and royal jelly.
Due to the exquisite quality of their bee products, El Tio Picho also developed secret recipes for sweet liquors, health drinks, anti-aging hand and face creams, soaps and cosmetics—all derived from artisanal honey and royal jelly products.
If you’re a nature lover, try to visit Las Hurdes next time you’re in Spain. Tio Picho will not only provide you with amazing honey products and drinks, but he’ll even teach you some of his own recipes so you can truly taste the nectar of Aphrodite and achieve health, wit, strength and long life – with plenty of poetry from the master himself!