Wednesday, September 28

This is how the organic olive oil of the stars is grown

Olivos Garcia de la Cruz. / Facebook

The organic production of the García de la Cruz company is one of the suppliers of Celler Can Roca after being awarded as “Best sustainable producer”

Jose A. Gonzalez

Currently, 815 million people suffer from hunger and one in three from malnutrition, reflecting the imbalance of the food system on the planet. Increasingly, the list of foods is becoming more homogeneous. “We must make visible the loss of biodiversity in the agricultural world,” says Joan Roca, owner of El Celler de Can Roca. Sustainability is already one more task in the daily life of Spanish farmers.

Organic production is gaining ground across national borders, occupying 10% of total agricultural land, one percentage point above the community average. “It has to continue to increase,” warns Alberto Cano, director of SMEs at BBVA in Spain.

In total, 2,437,891 hectares of ecological surface of which a small part is a “sea of ​​olive trees in the Montes de Toledo”. This is how one of the Roca brothers defined it during his visit to the facilities of Aceites García de la Cruz in Castilla La-Mancha.

Dozens of hectares dedicated to organic farming. “For more than a decade we have been committed to sustainability,” says Fernando García de la Cruz, general manager of Aceites García de la Cruz. A job that he began in 2010, “when my father gave us the management of the olive groves,” he explains. This new decade brought about a change in mentality and in the way of working. “Many still don’t understand why we let grass grow near olive trees,” explains García de la Cruz. “They keep telling us what to do,” he adds.

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Actually, what they do is a sustainable work of the land and that has earned them to “improve production” and also sneak into the menu of a three Michelin stars and one of the best restaurants in the world: El Celler de Can Roca. “Fernando is an exemplary producer,” says Joan Roca. “We use his oil in a sea and mountain vegetable dish,” he adds.

A trip that starts in Madridejos (Toledo) and reaches Gerona. However, first he makes a stop at BBVA, since the financial institution is the matchmaker of this gastronomic marriage. Last year, Aceites García de la Cruz was awarded the prize for Best Sustainable Producer. “It is a recognition of many years of work,” says the CEO of the company from La Mancha. “Sustainability is not achieved overnight,” he warns. “It is an important recognition.”

Sustainability from the field

Since last January, the European legislation that regulates organic production in the community club has a new article to protect consumers. “By 2030 we want 25% of production to be organic,” highlights the director of SMEs at BBVA in Spain. “That would be tripling production in Spain,” he adds.

According to European regulations, it is “a production method whose objective is to obtain food using natural substances and processes”. A work for the maintenance of biodiversity and water quality and pursue a high level of animal welfare. “Sustainability is not at odds with profitability,” warns García de la Cruz. “It is true that at first it is complicated,” she adds.

From left to right, Alberto Cano, Director of SMEs at BBVA in Spain; Joan Roca, owner of El Celler de Can Roca and Fernando García de la Cruz, General Manager of García de la Cruz Oils. /


His foray into the green world at first “was trial and error,” he explains. But “we have to think about the environment and leave our children a sustainable planet,” she says. The first changes came with a reduction in the use of fuels such as diesel, then a different way of working the land. “We cannot destroy our biodiversity,” he stresses.

His tests gave a positive result by having a vegetative cover around his olive trees. “Now we are studying whether to plant some legume to fix nitrogen to the soil and give it more value,” he explains. “They are an example of tenacity and perseverance of how to fight for an idea,” reveals Roca. “It is necessary to give visibility to local producers who have opted for measures that are respectful of natural resources and local biodiversity,” adds Cano.

For this reason, for the third consecutive year, the entity chaired by Carlos Torres is once again looking for ten farmers, ranchers and food producers in the country whose production model contributes to sustainable development

The awards are aimed at those companies and freelancers in the agriculture, livestock and other food producers, who have the official certificate that certifies them as organic producers, “an essential requirement for registration,” warns Cano.

The prize consists of including the seasonal products of the winners in one of the recipes that El Celler de Can Roca prepares each month for the ‘Sustainable Gastronomy’ project, a project that supports small producers while promoting healthy cooking. The registration period for these awards will be open from April 20 to May 31. The decision of the acknowledgments will be announced next July.

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