Ibiza Gold - Carob Syrup
To investigate, create and market a range of products, including toasted syrups, various drinks, energy bars, puddings, cakes and alcoholic beverages using locally grown organic Carob from selected farms in Ibiza.
Description of Project
On the island of Ibiza there are literally hundreds of thousands of Carob trees, traditionally providing one of the basic elements of food for a variety of locally reared farm animals as well as revenue from the sale of Carob seeds. Ultimately, the general decline of farming practices during the last thirty years, coupled with the gradual fall in the value of Carob seeds during the same period has resulted in many Carob plantations being virtually abandoned by their owners. Each year fewer and fewer families gather together in the late summer and early autumn to pick Carob and farmers are unable to employ anyone to help out. Unless the value of the product can be raised, by using it in a different way perhaps, this local industry could soon be in danger of collapse.
With the idea to revitalise the Carob production on the island, as well as offer employment to more people outside the normal tourist season, the Greenheart team have invented several products based on a ‘unique’ toasted Carob syrup, which was developed during the summer of 2006 at the Casita Verde model ecological centre near to San Jose. The syrup (which has recently been patented to ensure rights of manufacture) is made by boiling the rough-ground Carob flour or broken Carob in fresh water, then cooking the resulting liquid until toasted, forming a thick treacle-like substance. The resulting syrup, rich in iron, potassium, calcium, phosphorous, manganese, barium, copper and nickel plus many other healthy nutrients, can be used for a wide range of locally manufactured and certified organic products, both for sale in Ibiza and for export to other parts of Europe.
So far, the 100% natural Carob syrup creations include a coffee substitute, a cola-type refreshing drink made with orange and lemon, various sorbets, ice-creams, puddings and cakes, as well as an assortment of sweets which include other natural local products like almonds, figs and grapes.
During the second phase in the development of this new Carob industry, a small quantity of the Carob syrup is being produced each week at the experimental marmalade factory of 'Cas Des Bosc' on a government owned industrial estate next to Ibiza town. This will hopefully provide enough of an example for use during the weekly open day event offered by the Casita Verde centre and for distribution to a number of shops and bars on the island that wish to participate in the market research study.
Initially, the cost of the market research operation is being covered by funds gained from the sale of Carob products, as well as from the Ibiza Ecologic association but the possibility of obtaining additional funding from local authorities is presently being investigated and may be possible for the near future. Meanwhile, Greenheart team members are gathering together a number of interested local organic farmers and businessmen in an attempt to form some kind of cooperative body that will eventually assist in the construction and operation of a ‘Carob products factory’.
If successful, the Greenheart Carob project will rejuvenate an important traditional economic activity, as well as motivating many local land owners to register their farms with CAE, the government controlled ecological agriculture system. Between the harvesting, production, distribution and export of the products, this new business will provide jobs for many local residents as well as take the island of Ibiza one step closer to a state of real economic sustainability.