Told in the first person by Francisco Helvídio Barcelos, the young farmer who founded the group Barcelos.
In 1971, I started my professional life as a public employee. In April of 1977, being just married for one year, I became a farmer, acquiring the crops of my father-in-law who at that time had 25 cows, 2 oxens, a horse and a cart in the land for rent.
After a month and a half, I got a tractor and later realized the heavy investment I had made and the difficulty I would have to make it profitable. Then I identified two possible solutions: selling the tractor or acquiring more cows to produce more milk and thus paying for the investment I had made.
I decided, without hesitation, to buy more animals and so I began gradually building my course as an entrepreneur. From an early stage, I resorted to the support of technicians and specialists in the area with the need for genetic improvement and also improvement of the pastures. With the knowledge acquired, I tried to encourage the region to invest in genetic improvement and made the 1st importation of Holstein Friesian cattle to the Azores from Germany: 990 pregnant heifers on a cattle boat. I still remember the day of the discharge of these animals at Porto Pipas in Angra do Heroísmo. The thrill of seeing many fellow farmers waiting to unload the animals.
By destiny, and as an agricultural entrepreneur, I started parallel activities in the area of import and export of live animals and later in the area of meat.
In 1997, Açorcarnes was born, a company focused on the cutting, packaging, and commercialization of beef. In a clear commitment to the valorization of primary production in the Azores, Açorcarnes pioneered the promotion and commercialization of the Carne de Açores IGP (certified meat from the Azores).
Despite the interest and liking that I had been developing in the Meat sector, I have always dreamed on transforming the milk I produced into value-added products. It is then that, in 2004, we start thinking on what would become Quinta dos Açores.
Quinta dos Açores, inaugurated in 2012, incorporated the meat and dairy products and brought us the challenge of launching ourselves in new sectors: restaurant and retail.
Nowadays we have 5 companies operating in different stages of the value chain, with the collaboration of around 100 professionals.