I grew up in a traditional Andalusian family, surrounded by olive trees and the smell of olive oil in my mom's kitchen. Olive Oil is more than a culinary product for me, it is a way of living in my family and has been for generations. My hometown, Cazorla, is a small village in the south east of Spain, a region which has been home to olive harvesting for more than 800 years. The region is certified as a Protected Designation of Origin due to its unique geographical environment and natural and human factors; and is home to the second largest environmentally protected area in Europe.
Muriel, the country house where I grew up. I have great memories from this house surrounded by a sea of olive trees.
Once I was 10 years old, Cazorla became my hometown. It is located in the heart of the largest olive-growing area in Spain and the world. This region is 1,331 square kilometers and the 30% of it are olive trees.
I have 11 family members dedicated exclusively to their olive oil groves using techniques that are respectful of the environment in order to avoid soil erosion and degradation and to preserve biodiversity. Some of them have 1 grove, some have 2, and others have up to 5 small groves, inherited from my grandparents and great grandparents for countless generations.
My family owns a total of 10,000 centenary olive trees in the mountains of Cazorla which produce around 50,000 kilograms of olives every harvest and between 6,000 and 12,000 liters of olive oil per year. The output changes each year depending on the weather and when the olives are harvested, if they are picked unripe the amount of juice extracted from them is less than if they are picked when fully ripe.
As far back as I remember all of my family members have sold their olives to the mills who package and export it. In 2015 was the first time that a percentage of my family's production was commercialized under the Vezorla brand.
Veronica's family role in the process:
- Careful olive tree cultivation (proper pruning, pest treatment and control with products which respect the environment, irrigation...).
- Harvesting of olives at their optimal time of maturity and their transport to the olive mill as quickly as possible under the best conditions.
- Contributing to the preservation and conservation of the environment by managing the by-products, both of the cultivation (young branches remaining after pruning, etc.) as well as of the olive mill (pits are burnt for heating and olive waste is used for compost).
- Vezorla assumes the cost of the production destined to Calgary customers.
- Arranges to bring the olives to a private mill to cold press them. Vezorla delegates the supervision of the crushing to her uncle Andres Guirado, consummate pressing of olives in the olive mill in order to obtain the best extra virgin oil under the most suitable conditions which permit the oil to conserve all of the aromas and flavours of the fresh olives and all of the healthy properties (polyphenols, vitamins…).
- Sends a sample to a certified lab to get tested and certified as Extra Virgin.
- Imports the Extra Virgin Olive Oil exclusively to Calgary.
- Directs marketing "From the field to your table".