Alicia Fernández and her partner Matías left Barcelona almost two decades ago to return to Ortigosa de Cameros, Alicia's town in La Rioja, with just over 100 inhabitants.
They were 26 years old and had an adventure ahead of them.
After working on different things they began to make cheese with the milk that a friend gave them.
They had no experience in ranching or cheese making, not even in planting a sad lettuce, says the founder, but in 2015 they decided to fully enter this business.
They converted a pavilion they had built to keep animals into a cheese factory and began to buy milk from other farmers.
Their opportunity came when a neighbor who was retiring offered them a 400 square meter shed that allowed them to have their own goats.
“It was a good idea.
Acquiring milk is hard,
They bring you many liters at a time and you spend days without stopping preparing.
We bought 65 goats and we launched”, explains Fernández.
An amount that today they have almost multiplied by four with a herd of 200 animals.
With only two employees and a production of 12,000 liters of milk, they make fresh and semi-cured cheese, yogurts and cheese creams.
Being small, they explain, you have to diversify to sell more.
Of all, the semi-cured is preferred by customers, at around 30 euros per kilo, a price that they have been forced to raise by 7%, due to the increase in the cost of feed and fuel.
Its products are only sold in some winery, restaurant or store in the surroundings and in Logroño, but, above all, in markets and in its cheese factory.
"95% is direct sales," emphasizes Fernández.
They do not consider selling online due to the complicated logistics of rural areas, "we would have to make many trips from the cheese factory to the distributor, shipments would have to be cold... It does not compensate us."
To reach more points of sale, he says, they would have to double production, which is not sustainable for them at the moment.
A production that is complemented by the sale of kid goats that are cut up and vacuum packed and which represents about 6,000 euros of the 50,000 euros that came in last year.
In the livestock they only use renewable energies such as solar and wind and rainwater, approved by the FAO for industrial use.
At the moment, Roca de Cabra is the only agri-food company in Spain that uses it and although they must chlorinate it and submit it to periodic analysis, it saved them from having to pipe water to the cheese factory, which is very expensive, and from building a well.
They have several projects in mind, such as rebuilding an old house to make an underground cellar for the cheeses or hiring someone to deliver and give them a hand in the livestock, although, according to Fernández, it is difficult to find someone who enjoys and has your requirement.
They have just awarded her a prize from the Clea Project, from the collaboration of Bodega Bardos and Fademur, an organization that represents the work of women in the rural world.
“With the money we are going to renew instruments that are phenomenal for us”, she smiles.
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