Producer Profiles

Stewardship and Excellence at García de la Cruz

Five generations of the García de la Cruz family have a hand in their award-winning brand from La Mancha.

Dec. 5, 2019
By Pablo Esparza

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Fer­nando Gar­cía de la Cruz walks through the olive trees at his estate near Madride­jos, in the province of Toledo of Castilla-La Man­cha region in Spain.

We haven’t done it all, not at all. If those before us would­n’t have laid the basis, most cer­tainly, this would­n’t be as it is.- Fer­nando Gar­cía de la Cruz

Work­ers are col­lect­ing the olives for the early-har­vest oils. They com­bine the tra­di­tional vareo” –- hit­ting the branches with a long stick — with the faster har­vest­ing trac­tors that shake the trees until the fruits drop to the can­vasses cov­er­ing the ground.

We are in the first days of the har­vest and the olives boast a bright green color.

I remem­ber when I was 12 years old, my dad used to take me to the fac­tory dur­ing the Christ­mas hol­i­days to weigh olives. I’ve grown up in this sec­tor. I saw it on my dad I saw it on my grand­mother. They saw it on their ances­tors,” De la Cruz tells Olive Oil Times.






Along with his brother Euse­bio, Fer­nando is the CEO of Gar­cía de la Cruz. Their com­pany was founded in 1872. Now, almost 150 years later, it is still a fam­ily busi­ness.

The com­pany was founded by my great-great-grand­par­ents. We can say we are one of the old­est oil mills in Spain. We are the fifth gen­er­a­tion of olive grow­ers and oil millers,” Fer­nando proudly says.

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A few years ago, Euse­bio moved to New York in order to inter­na­tion­al­ize the com­pany. With a del­e­ga­tion on the East Coast, the com­pany also has a com­mer­cial office in Port­land.

Gar­cía de la Cruz’s olive groves are set in an area where the plains of La Man­cha in Cen­tral Spain meet the foothills of the Moun­tains of Toledo.

Almond trees, cere­als and vine­yards alter­nate with olive groves. The hills nearby are crowned by white­washed wind­mills and the mag­nif­i­cent cas­tle of Con­sue­gra over­looks the land­scape.

Although far behind Andalu­sia, La Man­cha is the sec­ond-largest oil-pro­duc­ing region in Spain.

This is the land of the Cor­ni­cabra — the most typ­i­cal cul­ti­var in the area. 90 per­cent of the 400-hectare estate of Gar­cía de la Cruz grow this vari­ety.

The Cor­ni­cabra cul­ti­var in our region is under the umbrella of the Toledo Moun­tains Pro­tected Ori­gin Denom­i­na­tion. It has very spe­cial par­tic­u­lar­i­ties such a high con­tent in polyphe­nols and oleo­can­thal. This makes the oil from this cul­ti­var one of the most sta­ble and health­i­est in the world,” Gar­cía de la Cruz explains.

Their Mas­ter Miller Gar­cía de la Cruz oil won a Best in Class Award at the 2019 NYIOOC World Olive Oil Com­pe­ti­tion for its organic medium blend of Arbe­quina, Picual, Hoji­blanca and Cor­ni­cabra.

100 per­cent of our olive groves are organic,” Gar­cía de la Cruz says.

Actu­ally, a good part of the company’s land lies within the lim­its of a spe­cial pro­tec­tion area for wild birds belong­ing to the Natura 2000 net­work, a group of pro­tected sites across the Euro­pean Union.

This oil is pro­duced in an area where respect for bio­di­ver­sity is pro­moted. Hav­ing life in the under­soil of the olive groves is very impor­tant for us. We must leave this kind of olive grove to our kids in excep­tional con­di­tions,” Gar­cía de la Cruz sug­gests.

Apart from grow­ing and treat­ing their olive trees accord­ing to organic stan­dards, some years ago the com­pany started pro­duc­ing its own organic fer­til­iz­ers using the pomace or alpe­rujo — a byprod­uct of the olive milling process con­sist­ing of what is left from the olives once their oil and seeds have been extracted — as a base.

We are very happy with these prod­ucts which allow us to reuse and recy­cle part of the waste of the olive oil pro­duc­tion,” Gar­cía de la Cruz says.

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He also high­lights the impor­tance of sav­ing water in an area with an annual aver­age of rain­fall of just 200 liters per square meter.

We water 30 per­cent of our olive groves. But we are in the dry Spain.’ This makes us con­scious to use water wisely. We have installed sen­sors under­neath the soil, at a range of depths, that let us know the degree of humid­ity and help us to save water,” Gar­cía de la Cruz explains.

When asked about the future or his com­pany, Gar­cía de la Cruz looks back at his family’s his­tory, as if the answer were in its long tra­di­tion as olive oil pro­duc­ers.

We’re the fifth gen­er­a­tion. The sixth is get­ting ready. They are already at the uni­ver­sity. And my great­est hope would be to leave all this to my chil­dren and my nephews so they con­tinue what the pre­vi­ous five gen­er­a­tions have done,” he told us.

We haven’t done it all, not at all. If those before us would­n’t have laid the basis, most cer­tainly, this would­n’t be as it is.”


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