Ralston, the sweeter side of life.
To the curious about our history,
I walk the same land on which my great-great-grandfather walked. Every tree has its story. Every piece of land has its place. In this sense, beside of being only a candy factory, Ralston is a part of a Family history.
Our history begins on the first day of May, 1917, when my great-great-grandfather Fábio de Mendonça Uchôa bought Santa Alice Farm (in Terra Roxa – São Paulo) and left it to his daughter, Alice Leite de Barros Uchôa, who had married Eduardo da Fonseca Pultney Ralston. My great-grandfather Eduardo cultivated coffee and bred horses: this was the beginning of our farm.
My grandfather, Jorge Uchôa Ralston, was born in 1918 in São Paulo and grew up in Santa Alice Farm. He studied Law and was one of the first airplane pilots in Brazil. He chose aviation so he could go to the Second Great War and fight against the Nazi values. When Brazil joined the fight, my grandfather had already studied aviation on the US and helped to defend our Brazilian coast. He was an adventurer and an idealist man.
However, as the years went by, his father asked his help to take care of the farm. In the period, our farm was facing a period of low prices for coffee. One thing I have to tell about my grandfather is that he was a man of vision, an entrepreneur and, after proving mango marmalade at a friend’s dinner party, he knew how to get out of this crisis: he would start Ralston, a sweet company based on tropical fruits with affordable prices. For him, desserts should be appreciated by everyone and never be expensive.
Now he needed to study the business; He visited the Campinas Agronomic Institute to educate himself on mango commercialization. There, he was told to go to the Food Technology Institute (ITAL). Luckily, when he arrived there, an American professor, Mr. Leonard Sherman, welcomed him and showed grandfather how practicable his idea was. Afterword, Sherman went to the farm e created the industrial project for the factory so it would agree with the agricultural one. Thus, in 1966, Ralston Food Industry was born.
In order to develop each recipe, experiments were meticulously held. That was the case for our guava marmalade. Grandfather decided to produce it and it became our main product when a neighbor and friend farmer, José Bento de Carvalho Dias, supplied us with “Guanabara” guavas.
At that time, the guava producers used to harvest the native fruit on grass fields. The idea of growing a guava plantation was completely innovative and Ralston was one of the pioneers in the practice. Grandfather also had the idea of pruning so that the trees would produce fruit more often.
During the 90´s, Ralston went to the second generation, as my father, Eduardo Ribeiro Ralston started to help my grandfather in business. With father and son working together, once again Ralston innovate its way of producing. 1997, new guava plantation was made, this time with the “Paluma” guava, developed by Professor Fernando Mendes Pereira (UNESP – Jaboticabal). This variety of guava is more prolific, allowing Ralston to use fresh fruit all year long.
In 2003, grandfather passed away and Santa Alice Farm seemed empty, lifeless. We missed him and his lively presence and the fact Ralston no longer existed only increased the feeling. With that in mind, in 2004, my mother, Renata Stein Carvalho Dias Ralston, talked to her mother-in-law, Therezinha Ribeiro Ralston. Grandmother supported the idea. And, with the permission of my dear aunts, my grandmother and my father, my mother reopened the factory. This new phase for Ralston was only possible thanks to the partnership between the food engineer Gustavo Montemor and my brother, Fábio Carvalho Dias Ralston, who joined in the business. My mother’s family, which comes from Minas Gerais, has always made sweets and desserts, giving us generations of recipes. That helped a lot my mother to continue the Ralston recipes and to create new sweets along with Gustavo’s knowledge. Nowadays, my two brothers – Luis and Jorge – and I are also part of Ralston.
Grandfather Jorge’s ideals are still with us and we feel that, with Ralston, we have a bond and life trajectory of our family. We hope through Ralston to bring a sense of honesty and search of respect to others by making the best products that we can. I strongly believe in the happiness we can reach by continuing my grandfather’s beautiful idea. Saying this I remember the motto he created and is still used as our company’s slogan:
“Ralston, the sweeter side of life”.