In the early 2000s, this family business, founded more than 40 years ago, decided to invest in the cultivation of safflower, whose production, reduced in quantity, is of high quality, in addition to having health benefits.
Rua do Jubileu 17
Água de Pau, Lagoa
São Miguel Island, Azores
+ 351 296 913 121 / +351 919 522 877
Tiago Emanuel Santos, O Baco
Texto de Patrícia Serrado
Fotografias de Vânia Rodrigues
Carthamus tintorius L. is the scientific name for safflower. Cultivated in April, in furrows between ten and 15 centimetres deep, the saffron seed or safflower gives rise to a plant, about one meter tall, that hatches in July and August, a flower with orange petals like thistles. These flowers are picked in August, very early in the morning, by the employees of Fernando Alberto Vieira Lopes, and placed on trays in the sun, to dry. “It is a fragile and seasonal product”, says Steve Lopes, son of the founder of this family business, who would like to see saffron more valued. Its leaves are removed by hand and, a part is ground in a rudimentary way until it becomes powder.
"There is demand, but it is an expensive product." The very meticulous harvest is carried out seasonally and its production is limited to only about a bushel of land, giving rise to a considerable increase in its price. Even so, it is commonly used in Azorean cuisine, to flavour or colour sauces in fish dishes, for example, in addition to being the main ingredient in the famous villain sauce, either in powder or in petals, which are also used to make tea. It also emphasizes the nutritional properties, beneficial to lower cholesterol and alleviate health problems related to diabetes and asthma, among other illnesses.
The safflower Jubileu, by Fernando Alberto Vieira Lopes, is on sale in supermarkets in the Azores Archipelago. Outside the insular circuit, it is available for purchase at Loja dos Açores, in Lisbon, and at Mercadinho dos Açores, in Porto.