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Farm Campo Alegre 1986

In the late 1920s, a young man named Wilhelm Oeding went out to look for work in the port of his native Bremen. The situation arose, that the young man was offered a job, but not in Bremen, or Germany, or Europe, but in Colombia, South America. This young man was trained under the guidance of other German entrepreneurs in Colombia and learned everything needed, so that a few years later, he would become the manager of the most important cattle ranch in Colombia at that time, the Jesús del Río Ranch, in Zambrano Bolívar. A farm that reached 57000 acres (23,000 hectares) and was the first to introduce Zebu cattle to Colombia. This ranch asked Carl Hagenbeck, to buy a Zebu bull in India. This animal, who was named Palomo, was transported from India to Hamburg and later to Puerto Colombia (the main port of the country at the time) by ship in 1913. Today 99% of all cattle in Colombia have Zebu genes.

This cattle tradition continued until 1989, when due to the insecurity of the region, the Oeding family had to sell the Campoalegre Ranch and permanently leave the region. Inspired by the nostalgia of my childhood in Campoalegre, one day I decided to make “Costeño” cheese in my apartment in Hamburg (coincidentally the same city where Palomo boarded towards Puerto Colombia). I remembered those days when I would stop to watch "Lucho" make the “Costeño”cheese in the kitchen of the old house at the hacienda. At that moment, the dream that today is called Bajo Grande began to forge. With this name we want to pay a tribute to this region in Colombia, because Bajo Grande is a village next to the grazing land in Campoalegre, where our Cebu cattle used to graze.

Grandson of German immigrants, I grew up sheltered by the German and Colombian cultures. In my family they made an effort to instill in us the values and customs of both countries, achieving a perfect mix that made us citizens of the world, but always carrying Colombia in the depths of our hearts. Today it is my turn to extend that legacy to my children, who from a very young age have learned to love Colombian, German, and North American cultures and customs (my wife and business partner comes from the USA, but that's another story).

Bajo Grande is a project that was born with the intention of transmitting our love for Colombia, offering a space to show our culture, and projecting the legacy and trajectory of our ancestors, as well as the cultural fusions that enrich our gastronomy.

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