Istrian villages carry only a few surnames and – at the same time – numerous families proud of their diversity. Every family has their nickname, which says a lot about their ancestry to others in that village. More than they understand or would be willing to say. Verbal transfer, generations ago, creates an image about us in the eye of a stranger. An image of which we can be more or less proud, but for which we are neither meritorious or guilty. Tradition is passed on.
My name is Vedrana, the granddaughter of Đina Bilinova, Mladen’s daughter. Moj great grandfather, Ivan Šergo – Bilin, grandson of Pijere Šergo “Bilin”, was – according to the word of mouth – a good, smart and capable man. I’ve never met him. He dies while my father was still a child. The same land he farmed back then is farmed by us today. Kamenjak, Proganj, Zacrikva, Pricrkiva, Zatrsina, Vrta… carried the same names and meaning .
“…pride and commitment, food for body & soul.”
In the time I was born, his fields were farmed by my grandparents, Đina and Nini. Back then olive trees were but a few. It was a persistent cultivar which grew in the edges of vineyards or by a stone wall. Only about 30 years ago the course was changes: vineyards and ploughlands one by one became olive groves.
When MIH Ltd. (Made in Histria), company started by Istrian county for adequate valorization and recognition of authentic Istrian products, decided to start up San Gurmano, brand of high quality Istrian extra virgin olive oil, it used olives from six olive growers. Thus, our olives in 2008 became the representative of Poreč area and were processed into the first olive oil produced by the region of Istria.
My grandpa started, my father Mladen Rakovac carried on. Times changed, knowledge improved from books and lectures and the result was there. We applied our olive oil to a regional competition in 2012 and immediately won a gold medal for extra virgin olive oil.
Today Bilini’s land is farmed by my husband Saša and myself. As time passes, I am more convinced that the land is permanent, while we – humble farmers – are but transient steps in its continuance. Today the land has us and our olive groves and what will be in the future? We don’t know and, honestly, it doesn’t matter. Today we produce good oil, on clean land, under wide sky. And we are grateful for that.