Sandro Marques

After his first edi­tion was well received, Sandro Marques has pub­lished an updated ver­sion of his Brazilian olive oil guide­book with an edi­tion in English.

Recurring in all these sto­ries are peo­ple want­ing to recover an ancient tie they have with their grand­par­ents that came from Europe.- Felipe Cruz, Olave

“The main dif­fer­ence this year is that I really get to tell the sto­ries,” Marques, a mem­ber of the Organizzazione Nazionale Assaggiatori Olio D’Oliva and edi­tor of Um Litro de Azeite, told Olive Oil Times. “People will look at the olive oil and will know who pro­duced it, how he or she started pro­duc­ing and why the olive oil is impor­tant for them.”

Marques wanted to expand upon the col­lec­tion of sto­ries he started hear­ing when he began research­ing for the first edi­tion of the book in 2016. Back then, his main goal was to cre­ate a writ­ten record of olive oil pro­duc­ers who were in Brazil.

“I noticed that our Brazilian pro­duc­tion was more or less con­sol­i­dated, but it was dif­fi­cult to find pro­duc­ers, where they were and I was very curi­ous about their sto­ries,” he said. “So by the end of 2016, I decided, since there was no data, that I was going to go out and get the data.”
See more: Award-win­ning olive oils from Brazil
Marques spoke to about 45 pro­duc­ers for the guide­book, all of whom are pro­duc­ing olive oil on a com­mer­cial level.

“There are of course many more pro­duc­ers in Brazil, but my cri­te­ria is a pro­ducer that already has a com­mer­cial brand with a label,” he said. “I want to help on the con­sumer end. I want con­sumers to know what good oil is and how it is pro­duced as well as who are the peo­ple who pro­duce it.”

Marques began by con­tact­ing olive oil pro­ducer asso­ci­a­tions. However, many pro­duc­ers in Brazil are not asso­ci­ated with these groups, so he com­bined new and old meth­ods of com­mu­ni­ca­tion to find the rest: the phone book and social media plat­forms.

“It was really what we call in Portuguese a ‘small ant job,’ because we did it lit­tle by lit­tle until we finally had all the data,” he said.

Once all the pro­duc­ers were con­tacted, he had them send their sam­ples to his office in São Paulo where he tasted them and wrote his obser­va­tions. He also included a para­graph about the pro­ducer.

In his lat­est edi­tion, Marques was able to go back and really talk to all of the pro­duc­ers to find out more of their sto­ries.

“I wanted to tell the story of Brazilian olive oil pro­duc­ers. About their lands and about the con­text in which they are pro­duc­ing,” he said. “There’s always a com­po­nent of pas­sion that strikes, even if the pro­ducer starts for com­mer­cial rea­sons.”

He recounted one of the sto­ries that stuck in his mind the most. It was told to him by Joice Capoani, the grand­daugh­ter of Jandir, the lat­ter of whom dreamed of his grandmother’s Italian olive groves for his entire life before finally plant­ing his own, well into his retire­ment years.

“Cheerful as a young boy, Jandir Capoani strolls around the grove with his grand­daugh­ters,” Marques writes in the book. “The trees help remind him of sto­ries of his ances­tors from Lombardy, who estab­lished them­selves in Bento Gonçalves at the begin­ning of the twen­ti­eth cen­tury.”

“Jandir founded a fac­tory, lived his whole life as an entre­pre­neur in the indus­trial seg­ment and it took him almost 80 years to res­cue the ori­gins and pas­sion for olives that lived in his mem­o­ries… [Now] his grand­daugh­ters are tak­ing an inter­est in the busi­ness, and the olive oil extracted this year makes a bridge between Jandir’s ances­tors and Olivia, his great-grand­daugh­ter, who will see this story writ­ten in the leaves of the trees of Fazenda Tarumã da Boa Vista.”

Marques said this theme of return­ing to a pre­vi­ous and ances­tral way of life was com­mon among many of the pro­duc­ers with whom he spoke for the book.

“Since we’re a coun­try com­posed of immi­grants, what is very recur­ring in all these sto­ries [are] peo­ple want­ing to recover an ancient tie they have with their grand­par­ents that came from Europe,” he said. “They try to honor their ances­tors by cul­ti­vat­ing olive trees in Brazil. Almost every story has that com­po­nent.”

In spite of just hav­ing fin­ished this year’s edi­tion, Marques is already think­ing ahead to next year. He plans to expand the guide to include Brazilian oleo­tourism ven­tures, that are slowly spring­ing up around the coun­try.

“There were very few last year, there are quite a few this year and I already know there are peo­ple doing huge things for next year,” he said.



Comments

More articles on: ,