Interview: Luis Rodrigues

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CASTRO MARIM ALGARVE – PORTUGAL 

PERSONAL BACKGROUND
Director of cooperative operations of TERRAS DE SAL, CRL, the local collective of hand harvested sea salt and Flor de Sal producers. Its aim is to promote, add value and trade there premium high quality and gourmet artisan products. As a nonprofit organization, the income is equally distributed among producers and their families.

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ENVIRONMENT

Description of the environment where one of the activities listed above takes place:
(Please, specify: 1 – name of the local area, 2 – if it’s a place well-known for a specific activity and – if so – which one; 4 – information about plants and landscape related to Mediterranean environment linked to the activity; 5 – any relevant information linked to the research). If it’s possible, take pictures/shoot video of this place.

Sea liquid salt at the Cooperative “salt land” of Castro Marim is a new product developed in the region. It has a sodium concentration 5 times lower than the salt and salt flower industry, the most widely used, together with a magnesium concentration 20 times higher.
And it is all natural, made from salt and fleur de sel with unique features that is produced in the salt pools of Castro Marim, without any additives. Its comsumption is good for chronically ill patients whose aliments have to limit the use of salt, but also for those who care more about the balance of their diets.

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TECHNIQUE/METHOD
Description of the technique/method/practice implemented. Please, specify – if it’s the case – the timing, the steps and the aim of the activity (to have more material: pictures + video shooting of the usage if it’s possible).
The liquid salt Castro Marim is already being marketed and can now be found on the shelves of many shops in Portugal, through a commercial cooperative partner, present in supermarkets. The Cooperative, in turn, invested in internationalizing this and other of its products and created the brand name ‘Raw’, which is already being sold in Germany, a market that surrendered quickly to the innovative nature of the product and their characteristics.
“We explored three continents. There are already 12 countries for which we can export and we are reaching others. Germany is one of the places where we export more, and certainly we will try to explore the most of these markets with this new product,” he said.

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TOOLS

List of natural products (fruits, vegetables, plants, fish and so on) depending on the activity/the activity is done for and related to the Mediterranean Diet. Promotion of the territory. Promotion of biodiver Promotion of slow and 0% consumptionif it’s the case, how the 0 Km production is working at local level: Region, if it’s a place famous for a specific activity, why and so?
“Salt Lands” requires mentioning Castro Marim even when it packs for other customers. All these are rooted in the strategy of “salt land”, which seeks to increasingly value the origin of its product and associate it with quality. Salt producers and Castro Marim fleur de sel have managed both to always credit the origin on the products sold and to also require naming the country of origin.

PRODUCTS

If it’s an activity related to the promotion of the territory, the biodiversity and the slow and 0% consumption, please, describe how it works at local level (if it’s related to traditional practice or traditional organization of the food distribution, promotion of territory or 0% consumption).

The package of the salt itself and how to use this product is differentiated from other salt in the market. The salt is diluted with water and sold in a bottle with a metered dose spray (e.g., as many sunscreens), allowing to know “exactly the dose that we are applying.” Thus, each can test the product and adjust the dosage to your taste and needs. Despite being healthy, “this salt is not without flavor.” Also, it is not solely intensified by sodium chloride; due to the magnesium sulfates and chlorides, one can explore what are the natural flavors of food by highlighting them” explained Luís Rodrigues.
“We have a product that can be competitive, especially in the health food industry, being very aware what are the risk groups, athletes of high competition, our elderly, our pregnant women and groups that have some deficiencies of minerals. Can be a good solution.” said the South info director of cooperative operations Luís Rodrigues.

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LOCAL/TRADITIONAL ORGANISATION OF LOCAL ACTIVITY

“At first, our business was interesting only for few customers. And there were some that had one great weight in the cooperative, but not watched out by the name of Castro Marim. This led us to extend our customer base, which is now much larger and Castro Marim became a compulsory indication on both our packaging, such as when packed for other clients, “explained the director of the cooperative’s operations. The products of “salt land” can now be found in various establishments, from large surfaces to gourmet stores. “We have several lines. We already had the line “Castro
Marim: more traditional, more artisanal” and now we have the Raw, which also comes with our premium sea salt. In the total harvest, we chose a lot that is dedicated solely to this line, both of fleur de sel as traditional salt. This new range is more oriented Gourmet” he said.