PepeRaf is a young and dynamic family business that based on the experience of three generations we are committed to the continuity of one of the most exquisite and natural products on the market, the Raf tomato.
We are farmers and grow our products according to traditional techniques, but without neglecting new technologies as a means of dissemination and marketing to be closer to you.
After many years supplying the most important and demanding tomato marketers in Almeria, collecting prizes and congratulations, we have decided to go one step further and take our product directly to your home or business.
The pepeRaf family begins to cultivate the predominant varieties of asurcado tomato (Marmande and Muchamiel) in the area of La Cañada and El Alquián, beginning an adventure that has lasted until today.
At the end of the 60s, the CLAUSE seed company began distributing the Raf tomato variety in Almería, and the pepeRaf family began to grow it, acquiring, year after year, all the experience that endorses us.
With the need to guarantee productivity, the greenhouse revolution begins in Almeria and with them a real technological evolution in the world of intensive agriculture. In parallel, “longlife” varieties begin to enter the market, suitable for commercialization abroad, but far from the benefits of Raf tomato.
The pepeRaf family resists change and continues to grow Raf tomatoes following traditional methods, adding in a controlled way the new cultivation techniques. So in the late 70s we started experimenting with mesh structures instead of plastic to protect crops.
The first big crisis of the Raf tomato arrives. The long-lived “longlife” hybrid tomatoes displace Raf tomatoes in the markets, as they produce more Kg and can be sold abroad as they are more resistant. This, together with the lack of consumer information, means that at the end of the 80s, almost 90% of the tomatoes grown in Almería are of the “longlife” type.
The Raf tomato boom begins. When everything seemed lost, in full economic growth of the country, there are many people who begin to consume top quality products, and Raf tomato resurfaces as a gourmet product, discovering consumers the great difference between Raf tomato and other tomatoes .
Prices soar due to low production and strong demand, and the rest of the farmers make unsuccessful attempts to recover the Raf tradition on their farms. As it is a crop with special techniques, and different soil and water requirements, new generations cannot grow it.
The second big crisis of the Raf tomato arrives. Given the strong demand for the product and that there are very few families that can and do know how to grow it, large seed companies begin to market hybrid varieties of Raf tomato, invading the market with products that are far from the qualities of flavor, texture and Raf tomato shapes. At present, very few Raf are the authentic ones of the CLAUSE house.
PepeRaf continues to grow the authentic Raf tomato and will continue to fight for its survival as it has done for all these years.
The working family of the Almeria countryside has been, and should continue to be, the great pillar of our intensive agriculture ("The great orchard of Europe"). As if it were an army of ants, the basis of our agriculture was based on the thousands of small farms, which under a family hierarchy exploited natural resources in a sustainable way, with no other objective than survival.
Thus, our grandfather "Juan El Veguero" was already able to keep his family together and firm around a small tomato orchard, providing them with the necessary resources for their own prosperity. A concept of life that later perpetuated the median of her daughters "Paca La Veguera", which together with her husband "Pepe", have managed to keep alive until today.
It was at the end of the 60s when "Pepe", a restless man, fighter and nonconformist, saw clearly the need to reinvent the concept, opening it to new technologies, and thus became one of the first 4 farmers in Almeria to lend his farm for the development and implementation of a new tomato variety, El Tomate Raf. And as if it were a crush, it began a story of love and hate that only he has been able to maintain until today.
Commemorative plaque for the 40th anniversary of Raf tomato awarded to the founder of pepeRaf
"Among other awards our father, Pepe, collected in 2007 a plaque of honor in recognition of his dedication to Tomato Raf, which as a pioneer in his cultivation he collected during the celebration of the 40th anniversary of the Raf, organized by the Clause seed house itself ."
For many years, the concept of "family of farmers" gave way to large farms, cooperatives, wholesalers, hybrids ... It has been too many years since overproduction and yield went ahead of quality and taste ...
With “Pepe and Paca” already retired, it is up to the new generations to reinvent ourselves so that this model of the family of farmers can continue in time, offering an authentic and unique product. And this reinvention is called pepeRaf.
We want to be as close as possible to our consumers and to continue offering this special product. The new generations of pepeRaf will continue to fight to maintain the family tradition, in addition to introducing new lines of research and development.
The future of pepeRaf must keep intact the values that have made our agriculture a sustainable and respectful way of life.
One of these future projects is the “ecoRaf Project” that will help us produce authentic, natural and totally organic Raf tomatoes.
Our farm is located in the central valley of the Bay of Almeria, between the towns of El Alquián and La Cañada. Due to its runoff from groundwater, its geology and the special weather of this valley, it is the only place in Europe where you can grow the authentic Raf tomato naturally.
Bathed by the Mediterranean Sea, some areas of the Bay of Almeria have the ability to accumulate groundwater from Sierra Alhamilla, which after crossing several layers of the subsoil are stagnant in wells with a unique concentration of mineral salts. A practically useless water for any crop, but that is the real secret of the authentic Raf tomato.
With the magnificent Cabo de Gata in the background, our lands are located in a strip of air currents, which provide an optimal temperature for the development of the Raf timate crop.