Meet the Passos family, makers of Passeite extra virgin olive oil from Portugal.
Marije and her partner Guilherme live in the Condeixa-municipality about 115 kilometers
from Porto. There’s no outside help at Passeite farm, the
family farm. They are solely responsible for their 2,000 olive trees and making
extra virgin olive oil. (EVVO).
They deliver their high-quality extra virgin olive oil to their customers by ship transport using wind transport. And, what’s great is that sustainable transport doesn’t have to cost the earth.
Marije Passos laughed when I asked her what made her leave her home in the Netherlands to live and work in Portugal making olive oil.
“Pure passion for olive oils, you can’t make olive oil in the Netherlands.”
It’s not been a smooth ride for the couple. The family has faced numerous challenges over the years. Most have been setbacks caused by climate change. “We’ve had floods, fires, hurricanes, and now it's the pandemic," Marije explained.
Despite these obstacles, Marije remains stoic and determined to adhere to sustainable practices for her extra virgin oils.
"Our EVVO Passeite is special because of the terroir. As we are close to the Atlantic, our olives are fruitier and softer, a lot more than other Portuguese varieties.”
But there are drawbacks, as Marije pointed out.
“Galega, the native variety is super fragile; it has alternate bearing fruit and is very sensitive to olive fly disease. I’ve learned to be creative over the years. We make our own olive flytrap, an experiment to fight the fly without the use of synthetic chemicals.”
Choosing Sustainable transport
With so much enthusiasm, so much loving care on the farm you can understand why she wants Passeite oil to use the right transport - shipping cargo under sail puts the planet and people first.
The cooperative system involving similar small businesses allows her to share transport costs with the entire sales chain – producer, ship, and customer. Transporting goods using wind power means lower energy consumption. Still, Marije says that it’s not only about numbers or carbon dioxide reduction but also about a more humane way of trading.
“With the ship comes stories and experiences. I think this is what the world needs now. We need to know where our food comes from.”
“Lorry drivers would just pick up a palette and drive off. They couldn’t care less about what we are doing here at the farm. The sailors are enthusiastic, care about our products, and our customers collect the goods at the port of destination. It's a cooperative process that works well for us.”
What does being sustainable mean to this olive producer?
With graceful simplicity, she replied:
Success means different things to different people but to this young couple success isn’t about making loads of money, it’s about appreciating and maintaining their olive oil heritage. It’s also about building relationships with their customers, consumers who understand the importance of buying healthy organic olive oil and the positive impact of transporting goods by wind power today.