Can Solivera was established by Hans de Roos and his wife Daida Kugel. Hans, a dyed in the wool Dutchman, was working for the Dutch chemical multinational HCI. In 1977 as they were temporarily stationed in the northern Catalonia region of Spain, Baix-Emporda, the family bought the small estate and ruins of Can Solivera (“House of the Olive Grove”). Daida’s maternal grandfather, Paco Minguell, was born in a small village near Arbeca, the “source” of all Arbequina olive oil. The oldest section of the stone farmhouse dates from the 11th century. By 1989 the house became habitable again and few years later they decided to restore the surrounding fields by planting olive trees.
They opted for the Arbequina variety of olive trees. A bold decision because one needs nearly twice as much olive weight to produce one liter of oil as compared to the Picual variety, which is the typical olive oil production tree in Spain. The big difference, of course, is the taste. They figured that the mild and broad aromatic taste of Arbequina was far better suited for emerging olive oil markets in Northern Europe, the United States and Asia than the bitter, often pungent, taste of Spanish Picual or Italian Frantoia.
The rest is history. In 2001, they started the second and third Arbequina project in Southern Catalonia and the fourth in 2006, close to Ubeda in the south of Spain. These locations spread the risk of bad harvests because of hail and snow storms (an occasional occurrence in Northern Catalonia). In addition, groves planted in the elevated and dry plains of Central Spain find show far less incidence of Dacus Olei, the infamous olive fly, so they don’t need to spray there. This resulted in the ability to obtain official E.U. organic certification for their olive oils from those regions.
At their farm in Baix-Emporda they also developed exiting sub-products from the olive oil, such as bar and cream soap, which prove to be highly beneficial to the skin. Their DAIDA olive oil perfume concentrate is gaining international recognition. The Anchovy Fillets project in co-production with the largest fish canning company of nearby l’Escala, is a resounding success as more and more professional kitchens discover the dramatic taste improvements of lightly salted anchovy fillets conserved in Can Solivera extra virgin olive oil, cold pressed in a traditional stone mill, rather than the usual tasteless refined or pomace olive oil.
In 2014 a long wish came true. Can Solivera USA. fulfillment company in California began, together with cousins Grant Nissen and Martha DeRose Nissen. Hans and Martha are cousins, as their grandfathers were brothers and they are grateful that the Dutch roots have stretched back across America and reconnected in Spain as the deRoos/DeRose families work together to offer excellent olive oil. Now we are finally capable of delivering fresh products from our local stock anywhere in the U.S. and Canada in a matter of days at a reasonable price.