The Villa de San Juan de la Rambla has played a relevant role in its commitment to agriculture as the main activity of the primary sector. Even today it still is, but to a lesser extent compared to the last century, when it reached a tremendous boom that influenced the local economy, promoting employment to many neighbors. Let’s look at some examples.
According to the professor, historian, writer and Favorite Son of the Villa de San Juan de la Rambla, José Antonio Oramas Luis, in his Book Five Centuries in the history of San Juan de la Rambla, Malvasia wine had enormous importance, closely linked to the history of the town. It was considered one of the most exquisite in the world during the 16th and 17th centuries. Its fame has gone down in history, and it should not be forgotten that those appreciated wines came from this town to nothing more and nothing less than the English royal court and the most important tables in Europe.
Likewise, Professor Ángel Martín Falcón Domínguez (Martín Rodríguez Cultural Association), in an outstanding work entitled Eras, Lagares, Molinos, Hornos en San Juan de la Rambla, relates that illustrious travelers such as Gaspar Fructuoso (Portuguese), in the 16th century, he writes: «On the Rambla there are many vines and malvasías that are irrigated by the vine with good water». In addition, Thomas Nichols (English), in 1526, writes: «The best wine is produced on the mountain called La Rambla». Another outstanding character, Sir Emmanuel Scory (English), in 1630, writes: «In San Juan de la Rambla the most excellent wine of the island is produced».
The list of travelers continues with André Pierre Ledru (French), who in 1797 writes: «San Juan de la Rambla, seven quarters of a league from Los Realejos, is famous for its Malvasia wines». And so we could continue with a long list of world-famous personalities, although what Alexander Von Humbold (German) said in the 19th century deserves special attention: «San Juan de la Rambla is famous for its Malvasia wine». And finally the famous writer Olivia Stone (English), who in 1883 wrote: “We stop at the inn where we had already stopped and once again taste the famous malvasia wine of that place” (referring to San Juan de la Rambla ). They are more than relevant data of the enormous importance that this northern Villa had in past years. As has been exposed, the exquisiteness of its famous malvasía wine elevated San Juan de la Rambla to be known worldwide.
The town of San Juan de la Rambla is also the main protagonist in the Canary Islands for the cultivation, harvesting and packaging of the famous Canarian banana, whose production has given world fame to this noble northern corner. Outstanding is the work of various banana packaging companies that have operated in the ramblero municipality, making the growth of the local economy effective. The history of the Villa is closely linked to the enormous importance of these banana companies (packaged). As examples we have Los Carmitos (known as Pladimisa: Vicente and Fernando Díaz Miranda). Miguel Díaz-Llanos also stood out, then Juan Francisco Ríos Espigares (with the so-called Coplaca), Hernández (Manoli and José Miguel Hernández) and Ruiz’s Packaging (promoted by the remembered Eduardo Ruiz). And let’s not forget that of Manuel Cayetano Luis (Manolo Cirita), based in the guanchero neighborhood of Santa Catalina, but always linked to the Villa de San Juan de la Rambla. They were very difficult times; there was no work and economic precariousness forced many people to emigrate to Cuba or Venezuela. But these businessmen and their banana industry propitiated the future of many rambler families. So much so that, rightly so, the City Council agreed to award them the Villa’s Gold Medal, in recognition of their outstanding work in the economy of our municipality, for being job generators and for their example of perseverance in the face of adversity.
Another of the economic potentials of ramblera agriculture are the potato plantations and harvests in the fertile midlands area where potato cultivation is fundamental –of all varieties–, although the famous beautiful potato stands out, a true star product of the kitchen. canary. In this regard, it is worth highlighting the very important work carried out for several decades by the Las Medianías Agricultural Cooperative Society, which also has a cold room to store this outstanding agricultural product and favor its supply throughout the year.
On the other hand, the cultivation of cereals is also a protagonist, together with today’s outstanding organic farming. This great importance of local agriculture led the remembered Republican Mayor Antonio Montes to convene in 1935 a Regional Assembly of Municipalities of the Canary Islands in defense of agriculture and the Canarian economy.
The enormous insular and regional protagonism of this Villa in the production of tomatoes and the so-called billots (fruit wrappers) is strikingly striking, according to Diario Amanecer on December 5, 1937: “(…) the Villa de San Juan de la Rambla, today in full dynamism of all its vital forces, takes on the character of a true factory: its products, already perfected, are rapidly consumed in the market. And, what is better, a swarm of workers –many at odds– earn a living. Agricultural activities, long in turmoil, continue. The extension of tomato cultivation (…) has acquired considerable importance, with many hundreds of fanegadas being produced. In the packaging work is done day and night, with a large number of workers of both sexes, highlighting the workshops of this Rambla Agricultural Union – an entity of real importance -, in which twelve thousand billot weekly have been made (…). The Rambla Agricultural Union also has a billot factory that it uses in its packaging. It would not be an exaggeration to suppose (…) that in this town some five hundred thousand billots of tomatoes were handled this season».
And as a finishing touch to this strength for agriculture in the Villa de San Juan de la Rambla, King Alfonso XIII himself granted the title of Villa, by Royal Decree of August 17, 1925 (published in Gaceta de Madrid, number 232 , page 1070, on August 20, 1925) and in which special mention is made of agriculture: «Wanting to give proof of my real appreciation to the people of San Juan de la Rambla (Canary Islands) for the growing development of their Agriculture and his constant adherence to the Monarchy, I come to grant him the Title of Villa. Given in Santander on August 17, 1925. Alfonso.”