The carob alchemist – Juana Verger
Carob has gone from being a common food on the table of peasant families in times of scarcity, to being used to feed animals, to becoming today a gourmet product, described as the new gold of the Mediterranean. This is a process that Juana Verger has been able to experience first-hand. “I remember my grandmother telling me that in the post-war period they ate carob extract, because it was the only thing they had”.
Juana worked as a director of an important Mallorcan financial institution, but in 2012 she felt the need to return to her roots, the village where she grew up and where the family business; Productos Martín, a company dedicated mainly to the purchase and sale of carob beans and founded by her grandfather in 1945, was located.
After almost 20 years working in banking, she left her management position and decided to travel to Peru to investigate the possible applications of this legume, as it was a very common food in the diet of the inhabitants of that country. She firmly believed that, besides being a food for animals, it could also be a domestic and everyday product in the islands. “I believe that, just as most people have olive oil and almonds in their homes, they should also be able to have carob-based products.”
In 2015 she created the Johannis brand, opening a new market for carob-based products with very clear objectives: environmentally friendly; Km 0, sugar-free, vegan, gluten-free, high quality and organic. At the time, she launched her first product: flour, which she personally marketed door to door to small shops, processors and producers so that they could get to know her product and its benefits. He currently markets 8 products: flour, sauce, syrup, coffee, infusions, spreadable cream and locust bean gum.
“Both carob and the Johannis brand have grown organically, being a unique brand in specific organic carob-based foods and also thanks to the trend of gourmet products and superfoods,” she says.
Her success is due to the authenticity that is so characteristic of Juana and the Johannis brand. “I always keep in mind how I started, where I am and where I want to go, to keep evolving in this market”.
In short, Juana has become “the carob alchemist”, as she has been able to bring out the deepest beauty of a legume that used to be a forgotten animal food. She has managed to give it added value and transform the vision of carob thanks to her passion for creating new products that bring it back to the essence and to her roots; the land.