Biofrade has a before and an after. From 1991 to 1998, agriculture was divided between conventional and organic production. In 1998, the company was created and António, Vítor, Mileta and Henrique produce and market only products obtained from organic farming.
Talho das Manas
Texto de Patricia Serrado
Fotografias de Vânia Rodrigues
António, Vítor, Mileta and Henrique. The four brothers are the mentors of Biofrade, a Portuguese company founded in 1998, headquartered in Lourinhã and focused on the production and marketing of organic products. Although they are both Agronomist Engineers, while Mileta practices Medicine and Henrique is more focused on Mathematics, agriculture is in their blood, the production in organic mode, which has, since the beginning, a consensus among all.
“We started in 1991 with half a hectare, where we planted potatoes and I remember catching ladybirds, which we put in jars covered with lids that we used to drill holes in, for a producer in the Algarve”, says Sérgio Henriques. “We have always dynamized this sector. Back then, we were already producing organic eggs, we had courgette and Hokkaido pumpkin and, in 1998, we did home deliveries”, he continues.
We have reached 2018 and, already with Biofrade, the brothers had 17 hectares of planted land, in which the leased parcels are included. Meanwhile, “we started to sell organically produced products from other farmers, to make up for what we couldn't produce. Nowadays, Biofrade works exclusively with biological products, whether ours or not, which end up complementing our offer”.
Currently, there are 54 hectares located in the parishes in the municipality of Lourinhã, where they harvest their biological vegetables. In a year of production, Biofrade produces around 60 different products, and exceeds 200 when added to those obtained by its partners, who are organic fruit producers. "There are more than 250 farmers, to whom we provide technical support and consultancy as well, but none of them works on an exclusive basis for us" and "we try to do work that is an asset for both parties, even because opting for organic products it's not just about not adding chemicals. We go further, in the sense of working towards sustainability, which is also social sustainability”, reinforces Henrique.
The portfolio reflects in a variety of raw materials from mainland Portugal and the island, with pineapple from the Azores, banana from Madeira, blueberries from the North, oranges and stone fruit from the Algarve, cherry from Trás-os-Montes, the fig from the Center and South of the country, among many others.
To this variety, dry fruits are added, such as hazelnuts, almonds, or dried figs. These are from other regions of Portugal, as well as pistachios, from Carrazeda de Ansiães, but also other corners of the world. It’s the case with dried pineapple or cashew, for example.
Without forgetting the seeds that Biofrade makes available for sale, such as those from Sementes Vivas, a company based in Idanha-a-Nova, with which they are carrying out experiments.
“It is noteworthy that, thanks to our climate, we can produce a lot. Therefore, what we manage to import and what we can produce here, we produce and always at the right time of year, without forcing production, a habit that chefs also consider”, concludes Henrique.
The company's organic products, including those of its partners, are for sale at the three Biofrade – A Loja da Horta, with the following addresses:
Alameda Nuno de Brion, Loja C, Lourinhã (tel. 962 207 766);
Rua Luís Brandão de Melo, 3, Torres Vedras (tel. 261 243 882);
Rua Melvin Jones, 134, Parede, municipality of Oeiras (tel. 962 071 338).
To this list are added the stores and grocery stores dedicated to the sale of organic products.