When Carmelita first opened her small stand at Ver-o-Peso 42 years ago, this wasn't the case. At that time, the shoppers at the market weren't interested in the fruits that flourish in the rain-forest and along the banks of the Amazon. They wanted sophisticated European fruits, which had to be shipped in at great expense, and which often arrived in less-than-perfect condition. Of course, Carmelita, who was only 20 years old when she bought her stand, also sold the more commercialized tropical fruits of Brazil. Things like bananas, mangoes and papayas. But it was her apples and plums that made her living in the early years.
It's encouraging to see someone like Carmelita flourish. Remaining small and independent, she has created a business that is tied intimately to its own region, and which showcases the region's botanical cornucopia. She surely is Ver-o-Peso's Queen of Amazonian Fruits.
Adapted from material by Olivia Fraga published in the Estado de S. Paulo newspaper.