Interview: Juan Manuel Márquez Rodriguez

Interview: Juan Manuel Márquez Rodriguez – Agromolinillo Andalusian Cooperative Society

Juan-Manuel-Marquez-RodriguezOccupation: Entrepreneur

Position in the company: MANAGER

Age: 33 years old


How would you describe the fruit production process?

The agricultural production of red fruits (strawberries, raspberries and blueberries) is a sustained activity in with the different tasks, each essential in obtaining a quality product, are continuously developed, intertwining and succeeding through the entire production process.

Correctly choosing the varieties, proper planting and care of the plant during its production cycle should culminate in an exquisite and delicate treatment of the fruit at the time of collection, transferring to the final consumer all the taste, shape and colour that identifies our product.

Which tools/utensils are the most important in the process?

Berry cultivation is an activity that is both equal parts tradition and modernity. Using traditional tools and work combined with the use of the most advanced cultivation techniques, allowing sustainable and respectful production with the agricultural tradition of our people, while enabling us to compete with large multinational companies.

How important is the land/soil in the production of a quality piece of fruit?

Agricultural activity is directly associated to the land. Soil, air, water, climate… everything that makes a territory, conditions and impacts directly on agricultural production. Agriculture cannot be understood apart from the set of specific natural factors of the geographical area. Man has made tremendous efforts to minimize the impact of natural and territorial constraints on productive activity.

However, sustainable agriculture requires harmony between human activity and natural conditions that define a territory, allowing the result of the farmer’s work to reflect in its characteristics, the characteristics of the land where it was produced.

Generational importance: On a personal level, why did you decide to devote yourself to the fruit sector?

Agriculture is a way of life that carries values intimately associated to the essence of man. My father and my grandfather before him, dedicated their lives to the field. Since my childhood I have lived agriculture, strawberry cultivation, as my own, so continuing this lifestyle was something natural.

I take great pride in being the depositary and bearer of values and traditions so deeply rooted in farming, agriculture. Trying to keep its essence, transmit it to future generations, contributing to its economic viability and its sustainability in a highly competitive sector, are challenges that serve as a spur to my dedication to the noble and ancient profession of farming.

Personal opinion about Mediterranean traditions and customs

To talk about Mediterranean customs and traditions is to talk about a lifestyle, an idiosyncrasy common to the people living on the shores of the Mediterranean sea and those who, by geographical proximity or historical events, have been infused by a way of coping with life defined by notes that configure the essence of being “Mediterranean”. As noted previously, the territory, the land with all its accompanying elements, determines all human activity and in doing so helps to define a lifestyle, an identity of its people.

To enjoy a temperate climate, the sea, a dietary pattern molded by the environment, to raise it to the status of being the centre of social life where in addition to satisfying nutritional needs, people enjoy, are brought together and share experiences, do business, enjoy a unique and extensive family and friendship setting and a warm and open character are vital notes that defines our Mediterranean heritage.

To all of the above, I would like to add afternoon naps that are welcome by our climate, our gastronomy and our more sedate pace of life.

Which Mediterranean tradition would you associate with fruit?

Fruit is an essential element of a balanced diet. Eating fresh fruit is a great way to end any meal. Also, fruit has been incorporated into the kitchen in a variety of ways so that this relationship between our understanding of gastronomy and fruit, is rooted in the Mediterranean essence.

Nor can we forget the direct relationship between the grape, widely grown throughout the Mediterranean area, and something as Mediterranean as wine, so tied to our Mediterranean cuisine and lifestyle.

Many of our festivities and traditional celebrations are closely linked to agricultural work associated with fruit, either planting or harvesting, having acted for centuries as a fundamental element of social relations and instrument of transmission of popular traditions, many of which survive nowadays.

Leave a Reply