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Yerba Mate Argentina Over the past 85 years, in Corrientes an argentinian province, Don Victor Navajas Centeno decided to venture into the cultivation of yerba mate in around 1910. With nearly 10,000 cultivated acres in the heart of the rain forest, has become the only family in the world with a integrated production Yerba Mate.
Challenging the traditions of the small farm he had inherited, Don Victor Navajas Centeno decided to venture into the cultivation of yerba mate in around 1910. In those days, yerba mate was either cultivated or harvested in the wild, only in Misiones or southern Brazil. Against all odds, the world’s southernmost yerba mate plantations were born at Las Marías in 1924. In light of the difficulties that were likely in attempting to market his raw product, Don Victor decided once again to challenge common sense by processing and packaging the yerba mate right at the plantation. Taragüí is the proof that this was not just a pipe dream.
Don Victor insisted that the work of production be centered on the integral development of those who worked with him, as well as of the natural environment. In the 1940s and 50s, the participation of his older sons in the business helped it grow. All levels of production of tea, which had been cultivated with success in Misiones, were naturally and vigorously included. The forests, originally planted in order to take best advantage of low spots unsuitable for yerba mate and tea, now matured, and a full-fledged timber industry was developed.
When Las Marías began to take shape in 1924, the geographical area in which it is found was practically deserted. Cultivation of the first hectares of yerba mate and the integration of the productive cycle which distinguishes the company were risky decisions, made with the desire for quality in mind. Long before the law made it mandatory, workers at Las Marías had their basic rights guaranteed. They were also assured decent housing, healthcare, and the possibility of a free education. This latter assurance matured, eventually becoming the second Educational Foundation in Argentina. Respect for these values kept Las Marías on the road to progress and continued growth, allowing it to become the principal producer of yerba mate in the world. Due to its commitment to quality, technical development and innovation, Las Marías has seen advancements such as the reproduction of select varieties by cloning, the creation of innovative products such as mate tea in teabags and disposable mate kits, crop management based on ecological principles, and the ability to offer a previously unimaginable world of flavors of yerba mate and tea. In three generations, the establishment has grown from its 600 original hectares to today’s 30,000, over which are divided the cultivation of yerba mate and tea, forestry, and livestock raising. In recent years, Las Marías has received much recognition through world-renowned seals of quality, such as the IRAM Standards and the Green Seal of the Forest Stewardship Council , as well as by the signing of public policies such as the Global Compact.
The Yerba Mate
Taragüí, the Guaraní word for “Corrientes”—the name of the province in which Establecimiento Las Marías is located—is the flagship brand of the company. Leader in the Argentine as well as global markets, Taragüí offers a quality and personality that have remained unaltered through the years. Don Victor Navajas and his family was the first farmer to develop instant mate tea and the first to produce yerba mate in teabags, now one of Argentina’s most popular infusions. With the creation of Mate Listo, a wealth of knowledge and the most modern technology were placed at the disposal of a most ancient tradition. This took mate beyond something that was enjoyed only in the home and placed it in the public domain. But Taragüí isn’t only yerba mate; it is also the name of the most highly-considered tea in Argentina. With the highest ratings available from tasters on the international market, Taragüí Tea is of superior quality and has an extensive line that goes beyond the classic to include flavored varieties and a selection of imported varieties.
The Yerba Mate Vitality was developed with a focus on a niche market in Europe. Combining yerba mate with orange and mandarin orange as well as with green tea, this brand’s varieties satisfy those who are looking for exotic flavors, while still providing all the antioxidant and energizing characteristics of the classic infusion and the backing of the number one brand in South America. Elaborating on the healthy alternative offered by the Suave Unión brand, two new varieties have been offered for the local market: Unión Relax—the first yerba mate on the market with lower mateine content—and Unión Bio, the only yerba mate with 100% natural prebiotics. And Taragüí Más Energía is a new concept in yerba mate that, owing to the moment of its harvest and its special grind, contains more mateine.
Corporate Social Responsibility
In 1960, Don Victor Navajas Centeno, the founder of Las Marías, decided to retire, but not before creating the educational Victoria Jean Navajas Foundation. This saw to the growth of the little school that had been founded in 1944 for the children of employees and institutionalized the support that the company had always provided to the community. In addition, today Las Marías is a natural reserve, home to a great variety of vegetable and animal species.
A carefully designed ecological corridor unites forests and other native landscapes, allowing for the free movement of animals (including deer, foxes, monkeys, yacaré caimans and capybaras) and the development of the region’s native plants (including golden trumpet trees, palms and fruit trees).
- "Products: Taragüi". Establecimiento Las Marías. Retrieved 10 November 2011.