In June 2013, Mariví Gallent and her husband David Sánchez decided to leave Valencia to escape from the madding crowd. They flew to Lechago, a tiny village in the province of Zaragoza, and to which they felt linked because it was David’s family town. They quit their jobs and took a summer sabbatical, planted a vegetable garden and let themselves go. With the surplus of some tomatoes they made jam, then they continued with blackberries and so they made several jams with different products. They “let themselves go”, says Mariví, because nothing of what was to come was planned.
As often happens in recent years, social networks had a lot to do with it. One day they uploaded a photo of their jams on Facebook and someone asked about the price. “We sold the first jams at the bar, at the village festivals,” says Mariví. In January, they began to build the workshop in the garage of their house in Lechago, in just 30 square meters. There, with Mariví and David making handmade jams and a little by chance, Mari Golosa began.
In 2019 they saw the need to expand the facilities and look for a place with better connections to develop their project. They went a step further: they moved to Rubielos de Mora to a 500 square meter warehouse and expanded the company thanks to a capital increase with Mariví’s brothers. Just before the pandemic they began to manufacture their products in a kitchen rented to another company and the works of the new warehouse were developed during the confinement.
Mari Golosa is now a family business employing seven people, five of them part of the family. “Without the team, the work of all of them, this company would not be possible,” says Mariví, “We all complement each other, each one knows how to do one thing and we have all the bases covered,” she says.
Since then Mari Golosa, whose products have the Artesanía Alimentaria de Aragón seal, has gone from a 30-meter warehouse to a 500-meter warehouse, from selling jams to a wide range of products that includes honey, peanut butter, cookies, torreznos… and craft beers. This last product they learned to manufacture after the confinement of 2020, when they acquired the Mijares beer, typical of Rubielos de Mora and whose manufacture was going to disappear due to the closing of the factory.
Outstanding product in the international market
Their markets include the domestic market, but they also sell their products, especially jams, outside Spain to places like France, England, Belgium, Germany (where orange and tangerine jams are a big hit) and recently to the United Arab Emirates, in Dubai.
“We are super, super excited because we know that our jams from Rubielos de Mora are eaten in the palace and that they have the approval of the sheikha of Dubai“, explains Mariví excited. Since recently, almost 20 flavors of their jams, including the less sweet ones, many without added sugars and without alcohol are distributed and sold in Dubai. “We sent some samples to a contact we have who knew how to get them to the palace, now they are also sold to sheikhs, tycoons… we know that they reach people and families of high levels in Dubai” he says.
Next year they will launch a new product on the market, which is currently being tested, and they will launch two new lines of business. “We believe they can allow us to complement the customers we already have,” explains Mariví. Mari Golosa had a turnover of 500,000 euros in 2021, and its intention is “to continue with a similar growth in 2022 if covid does not hinder more than necessary”. Despite the change of location and the growth of the project, they continue to put all their love in the manual and handmade product. “We have grown in volume and space, I say that we have changed the pots, but we continue moving them with a shovel manually, labeling by hand…”, he clarifies.
For Mariví, having gone from a two-person company that gave “just enough to eat” to a family business with facilities like those in Rubielos de Mora and with seven workers “is important and significant”, especially because it allows them to work with what they want and where they want.
Rubielos de Mora, for its tourism, beauty and connections.
Why did they decide to move to Rubielos de Mora when the project started to grow instead of to a big city? They didn’t want to give up village life in the first place. “When we close the doors of the warehouse we have the mountain 600 meters away and my house 200 meters away. Working in Rubielos allows you to live the essence of a village. Although the work is sometimes as stressful as in the city, the environment is different. You can see the stars, breathe the mountain air, feel the change of seasons…”, argues Mariví.
Secondly, despite being a rural environment, Rubielos de Mora has an excellent connection with the A23, just 17 kilometers away. “We have the A23 next to us, the parcel transport comes every day, the pallets are taken every two days, communications are very good and we can get zero kilometer products in Mercapuig, 45 minutes away”. Rubielos de Mora is located 30 kilometers from the border with the Valencian Community and 64 kilometers from Teruel.
Finally, because for Mariví and her family Rubielos de Mora “is one of the villages to visit because it is one of the Pueblos Bonitos de España“. Precisely because of this tourist interest, their products are sold in the stores of Rubielos, “as a way of supporting local tourism”, which they use at the same time as a showcase for their products.