The Chacra Blanca Farm is a family business established in 1990 on the desert coast of the Chilca Valley, 60 Km south of Lima. The main objective of the companies foundation was to be green. By reforesting the desert coast south of Lima we are doing our part to preserve the environment.
When we were studying which variety of trees would be the most suitable for our purpose, we concluded that the olive tree would be the most appropriate plant for our land. Given its characteristics of resistance to salts and low need for water it was an ideal match. While its exploitation for the production of table olives and olive oil, it would provide the auto sustainability to maintain our project.
This desert has become a leafy olive forest with its own microclimate, and greatly increased its wildlife such as especially birds and insects. To conserve biodiversity we have dedicated areas of pasture for our animals who are producers of natural fertilizers for the farm.
The animals graze on alfalfa, fodder, sorghum and native grasses. We raise sheep, goats, and rabbits. Today we have our own processing plant for olive oil and table olives, obtaining a strict quality control at all stages of the production process.
The Gift of Destiny: Olivico of Peru
Fate often gives interesting twists to life, bringing together people in places you would never expect. Most often, these are twists that affect only a small circle of people. But fate that brought a man from Spain and a woman from Germany to the coast of Peru has benefited many. Although the destiny of this man and this woman included important life events such as the birth of five children and a trip from Europe to South America, the gift of their union reaches beyond the scope of their private circle can be summarized in one word: olives.
Jose Vico, or Pepe as he is called by his friends, and his wife Margit have made a commitment to produce excellent organic olives. The trees, basked in the Peruvian sunlight and salty sea air are handpicked at perfection. The name of the company reflects the perfect union of fate that merged their life with olives, Olivico.
The first sign of the birth of Olivico took place in Krefeld, Germany in 1965, where Pepe and Margit met. Pepe had immigrated to Germany from Spain four years earlier in search of better economic opportunities and to study chemical engineering with a focus on textiles. Margit, who is German, had attended to the same school to study textile design. They met, married, and remained in Germany until 1972 when Pepe, who had become a chemical engineer, was transferred by his company to Lima, Peru. With two young children at that time, the Vico family moved to South America. Margit remembered that time in her life. "It was exciting and challenging to move to a new country, a new continent, especially for me because I did not speak a word of Spanish. We settled on the urban lifestyle of Lima but in our hearts we dreamed of having a weekend escape out of town." That day came in 1989, when Vicos bought 3 acres of land about an hour south of Lima, in a desert valley near the sea. They built a house painted white and called this place Chacra Blanca.
With intention of having a weekend retreat home, dramatic changes came a year later when they had the opportunity to purchase 45 acres adjacent to their property. "Margit and I realized that with almost 50 hectares we had to find a purpose for this land. There was absolutely nothing there. It was completely deserted, the air and soil were full of salt.” For several years Pepe investigated and researched different ideas for his farm. However, Pepe got the feeling that his Andalusian roots would help him to reach a final solution, the olives. "In Spain, olives are such an important part of our culture and our land and so much of our delicious food comes from the flavors of the olive. They are resistant to salt and require little watering and perhaps most importantly, I love to eat them”. Olives were perfect choice. Gradually, the weekend became a serious hobby. And in a few years, it became a full time passion and business.
Having worked in the chemical industry for many years, Pepe understood the harmful effects of chemicals and how they could contaminate food. He was determined to find the best way to organically grow their olives. It took a lot of work, but his knowledge of chemistry served him well. "While my wife was the chef in our kitchen, I turned into the chef of our fields." Margit created new and delicious recipes with olives and Pepe worked on innovative recipes for organic insecticides and compost. "I felt that everything I needed to help the olive trees to grow organically was here on the farm. I just had to figure out how to do it."
The Vico´s always had a love for farm animals. Along with their pets, they brought goats, sheep, and horses to join their family of farmers. He was able to create compost with a unique combination of animal manure and the remains from the pruning of olive trees. It takes one year for the compost to mature and provides the perfect nutrients for the soil without harming the environment. For insecticide, he uses special detergent created in his own laboratory made from the extract of the olive leaf. He also discovered the importance of a diversified environment. Chacra Blanca is full of fragrant aromas of citrus, eucalyptus, and other fruits that are planted alongside the olive trees. This creates an ideal biodiversity for protecting the olives and improving their taste.
Pepe didn’t realize at that time that his commitment to growing his olives without chemicals would establish Chacra Blanca as the first organic farm in Peru – and that his ideas would be so innovative for the organic olive industry. He was just doing what he loved best – creating delicious, healthy olives.
At the time, Pepe did not realize that his commitment to growing olives without chemicals would make Chacra Blanca one of the first organic farms in Peru. His ideas proved to be innovative for the organic olive industry by only doing what he loved most, creating delicious olives.
Some highlights of his life in Chacra Blanca are "I like to see how everything grows, knowing that we created this magnificent place from nothing, a beautiful green oasis that is also a wildlife refuge for birds and insects. I especially like to create new products from olives and new ways to enjoy what we have to offer.” His wide selection of olives comes is coupled with a unique brine made of very pure water from underground rivers. Olivico also offers extraordinary olive pastes, exceptional olive oil, and many other products.
When we asked Margit about why she believes Olivico products are so special, she is very clear when answering. "I love seeing Pepe when he is in the fields. I see a great father to our four children and I feel he gives that same love to his trees. That's the real secret that makes our products so good. In all the great recipes, love is always the most important ingredient. And his love is in each of those trees."
With over four thousand olive trees at the Chacra Blanca Farm, this is a lot of love, Olivico love. This love from the Vico´s is for those who enjoy their products. Destiny is created.