This month we’re highlighting a small company, founded in 2009 by two young entrepreneurs, whose big vision has lifted many families out of poverty in the Huanuco region of Peru. Violeta and Roger, the founders of Agroindustrias Huayallacán, are both the heart and hard work behind Zócalo Whole Fruit Spreads.
Violeta and Roger are from the Huanuco region of Peru where most people live off of potato cultivation. But the market price for potatoes is quite low and unstable, and thus it is difficult for villagers to move beyond subsistence conditions.
|Violeta's mother picking sauco berries|
Violeta began by selling her mother’s artisanal sauco, or elderberry jam in Lima while getting a higher education. Roger’s education landed him a job with a local non-profit working with villagers to produce elderberry wine. The two met and decided to take their work many steps further. By introducing both sauco and aguaymanto (goldenberry), both native species, to their communities and training the farmers in organic cultivation methods, they have been able to increase the income to these families significantly. They purchase the resulting crops at fair prices and produce fruit spreads and other products for gourmet markets.
The company works in association with two non-profits, Aprovif and Apacarma involving farmers in the communities of Huayallacán and Cancejos. They offer technical support to their farmers, organic certification and a secure market. In addition, the reintroduction of these crops is helping to reverse deforestation in their communities.
The fruit spreads not only do good by promoting economic development in Huanuco villages, but they taste good too! Zócalo Elderberry Fruit Spread is a deep rich sauce with the delectable crunch of whole “sauco” or elderberries. It is a unique spread for toast or paired with cheese and is also great as a cooking sauce. Zócalo Goldenberry Fruit Spread has the unique sweet and sour tang of whole and ground aguaymanto (goldenberries). It pairs well with cheese, meats, and pastries.
So the next time you spread these sweet, rich sauces onto your morning toast or add a dollop to your pork roast (delicious!), think of how much sweetness that bit of jam adds, in more ways than one.