‘La Molineta’, producing ‘gofio’ for 150 years
‘La Molineta' is an enterprise that is nowadays celebrating its 150th anniversary. The company can be proud of being the only mill that is currently working in the centre of La Laguna at the street 'Calle Nuñez de la Peña', formerly known ‘Calle de Los Molinos’ (Mills Street). “This place at that time was the outside part of the city. And from this point to the headquarters of Los Rodeos, there where 18 mills from 1800 to 1850”, explained José Luis García, the enterprise manager, who is member of the fith generation of the owners of this factory.
“My family built this milt around 1866 to other family, owners of more mills. This mill has an advanced system for that time. It was a wind controlled grinding machine. This mill let the other mills as a blast from the past. That was because this mill worked so fast because the wind made this mill work faster than the traditional mills.”
It was his great grandfather who finally owned the mill at the beginning of the 20th century. Since then, this mill is still working, and even the factory still has the same building, and the wooden structures from that time. “My grandfather made another important change: in 1936, he incorporated the mill’s first electric engine. It was such an improvement”.
But what is the secret for surviving 150 years? “I think that making the things properly, producing good ‘gofio’, generational changes, and the new tools, among others. Those things are really important”, says José Luis García. ‘La Molineta’ is nowadays producing 13 different types of ‘gofio’. They still produce this cereal flour traditionally by using millstones. “Our main goal is to keep innovating, by producing brand new cereals”. “We have ‘gofio’ for sportsmen, for children, for people with diabetes, the traditional one made of wheat and spelt. This one is the last product we have launched and it has been such a success that the production doesn't get to the stores.”
Their last product is a single-dose-type ‘gofio’. “We have made those boxes specially to be used in schools, hotels and hospitals from across the region. Nevertheless, we are working to make these products available for everyone”, stated Mr. García. “Now, those boxes can be bought at some department stores, such as ‘El Corte Inglés’, and then, they will be sold here at the factory shop, and even outside the Islands, because we are starting to work for selling abroad”.
Germany, Japan and the United States
In fact, this factory has been exporting ‘gofio’ to countries such as Germany, Japan and the United States for twelve years. This is planned upon the basis of the internationalization plan of ICEX. They also export to other parts of the Canary Islands and other Spanish regions. “It works so well. This product is sold as ‘gourmet’, and it is seen as a natural food. We are not planning to export to other foreign countries. It is still not planned to have a huge amount of distribution chains. That’s another working philosophy.” So that says the manager.
This success is due to the fact that people is now better informed. ‘Gofio’ is one of the foods included in many diets by the World Health Organization, due to its huge amount of nutritious properties. “And so that the future generations still consume this product, we organize campaigns, such as tours inside the factory for school kids. 6000 kids have already visited the factory, and also, university students were touring here”. Mr. García says that they are still making these types of projects. This product is consumed a lot among the islanders, because it is part of our cultural heritage and the daily food. “People still eat ‘gofio’, and we are making such campaigns in order to not lose this tradition. Such campaigns are simply informative. We inform about the product’s nutritive properties and keep “updating” and informed about the brand new cereals for making these new kinds of ‘gofio’”.
These things are made in order to “continue milling and producing ‘gofio’ for, at least, another period of 150 years.
History and heritage of the older mill
This factory, in cooperation with La Laguna University, are publishing an article, commemorating the 150th anniversary of ‘La Molineta’, in which they will show the history and heritage of the old mill, that produced such an influence across the town. That was because mills were much used at that time for producing ‘gofio’ and floor for all the inhabitants of that time, according to José Luis García, factory manager. The heritage protection organization centre, CICOP, declared by its director, Miguel ÁngelMatrán, that these mills are not protected by any institution, and because of this, all the towns heritage is getting lost in an important way. Now, in the historic part of the city, the only working mill is ‘La Molineta’. There are two more mills located in ‘Las Mercedes’ and ‘Tejina’, respectively.
Source: Diario de Avisos.