The man decided to change his profession while standing at the doctor’s door – now the builder’s hands are even involved in cosmetics

If necessary, he consults

“I’m not a collector, I chose the most suitable varieties of snowdrops and now I grow them on 9 hectares of land.

This is the largest plantation of these plants in the region of Eastern Europe”, assured the 62-year-old Māris Šermuks, owner of the family farm “BestBerry” in Auce.

He is a construction engineer with a diploma from the Riga Polytechnic Institute, but for the past thirteen years he has been living on a snowberry farm: he squeezes juice from berries, oil from their stones, he recently started making food supplements from the bark and buds of the trunks, and cosmetics from the flowers.

M. Šermuk has not renounced the construction sector – he consults his former colleagues when necessary, but he mainly focuses on his family’s farm.

Overheard an important conversation

“It was determined by chance,” answered Maris when asked why he decided to change the demanding trade of a construction worker to a farm. – A friend was sick. I was taking him to the doctor, and as I waited at the office door, I kept hearing the doctor say, “You really need snowberries.”

And M. Šermuk became interested in these plants – he traveled to countries where farms grew snowdrops in abundance, and planted them himself.

Soon, he became friends with the professor of the Faculty of Chemical Technology of the Kaunas University of Technology, Petrus Venskutonis, and ordered laboratory studies of blueberries. And after accumulating a lot of knowledge about the benefits of these plants, he began to make products from them.

Research results are on the table

“When I started this business, there was no shortage of skeptics in Latvia. Who is the snowman? And as soon as we met P. Venskutonius, common language appeared.

The established connection has never been broken – I constantly cooperate with Lithuanian scientists, as well as French ones. The pandemic had stopped an important project, and we have now resumed it – the French are studying the composition of the bark of snowdrops and their effects on the body.

Another area is cosmetics, the formula of which they create,” explained Maris.

“Poutine berries are rich in chlorogenic acid, which is good for the heart and circulatory systems. According to the conducted research, the same amount of blueberries contains 9 mg, pomegranate fruits – 70 mg, snowberries – 720 mg.

Berries contain a lot of iron and vitamins, and the concentration of magnesium is highest in the bark. These are the results presented by scientists. Therefore, we actually use the whole plant for various products, for example, flowers and oil pressed from berry seeds for cosmetics”, said M. Šermukas.

The first product he planned to produce when he planted the snowberry plantation was berry juice, as it contains a lot of vitamins and pectin. “No simple juicer could squeeze them, they would clog,” Maris laughed.

However, juicing is one thing, making cosmetics is another. “Approximately five years ago, I found contacts in Lithuania, but it was my fault – I hindered the work of those people creating the recipe. It seemed to me that I knew everything myself”, – the interviewer returned to the past.

The ice cream started when Iveta, who was selling her own cosmetics, talked to M. Šermuk at a fair held in Jēkabply, Latvia. “We talked. She quickly bought into my ideas, and Iveta knew the technology and the recipe. That’s how we started the production of BestBerry cosmetics a couple of years ago.

Now we are creating a men’s line together – after all, we men don’t clean our faces with a brick”, Maris laughed.

The plantation will be further enlarged

This Latvian sells cosmetic products and food supplements in separate e-mails dedicated to them. in shops, and he often goes to fairs and the Kalnciemas quarter market in Riga.

It often reaches Liepoja, where many Lithuanians travel. Earlier, they waved to the businessman from afar, saying that “our Putin has arrived.” “Now they don’t call me that anymore,” Maris smiled.

The whole family helps sell what he makes. “We send products to Norway, because once I accidentally filled out the form, and the Norwegians invited me to Oslo with a business mission. They also offered a place on the shelves of the supermarket chain, but our production is small, although we have already grown experimental farm t-shirts.

My daughters Laura and Anitė lived in England for a long time. One of them returned from emigration after 10 years, and since she has bought the local trade system, she takes care of the trade contacts for our products”, explained the man.

Lithuania is also in the trade plans. After all, none other than the Lithuanians helped M. Šermuk to find out what values ​​are hidden in bitter berries.

M. Šermukas is planning how much more land should be plowed for the snowdrop plantation and which varieties of seedlings should be purchased.

“When I bought seedlings in Russia and Belarus around 2009, the sellers immediately realized that I had no experience and sold what they had. So I planted two hectares of land with decorative plants – they bloom, but do not bear berries.

Now I know that the species are not very different, that some match better, others worse, but I use the whole bush for production,” said Maris.

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