Miguel Cantón Lorenzo was born and grew up in the heart of a family dedicated for generations to agricultural and livestock farming.
His grandfather, and later his father and uncle, worked hard in the exploitation of the farm known as EL Cortijo Maroto, near the town of Marmolejo, in the countryside area known as La campiña de Jaén. The cultivation of olives, wheat and alfalfa, and the raising of cows and sheep were, for a long time, the sustenance of the Cantón family.
Miguel, restless and adventurous, left the family home early to find his fortune abroad, and worked for some years in England and France. On his return, with a rich background of experience and knowledge, acquired a part of the Maroto farm to dedicate to modern olive growing. To this end he started the intensive cultivation of the Picual variety and the super-intensive hedge cultivation of the Arbequina variety, initiating the process of converting the farm to organic production.
In 2019, Miguel, alongside his associates Tania Classen and Raul González, set up the firm La Cantona Aceite de Oliva Tradicional to market the extra virgin olive oil obtained from the trees on the farm, under the brand name of “LA CANTONA”
The LA CANTONA brand is an emotive and well deserved homage to Doña Antonia, Miguel’s mother.
Born in the Cordobes town of Montoro, Antonia has been known as “La Cantona” since she moved into the farm after marrying Miguel’s father, at the end of the sixties. This sonorous nickname reflects, without a doubt, her strong character and large personality. Of humble background, her childhood was never easy. Beautiful, with black hair and blue eyes, at just 14 years of age Antonia already worked collecting olives, which in those times, was done under very hard conditions.
Kneeling, in full winter, with bare hands, the women collected from the ground the olives which the men, high on ladders in the trees, would cause to fall by shaking the branches. The fruit was collected into baskets, which the women carried on their heads. The olives were measured in bushels and the work paid piece rate.
Ahead of her time
Antonia took on the reins of the farmhouse economy and increased the family fortunes, she made sure her children were educated and with tenacity and effort she was able to carve out a better future for her whole family. At 80 years of age, La Cantona continues to take part in all decisions and matters that affect her family and theirr children. As they say, ‘her strong character means that sometimes, living with her is not easy, but she deserves to be deeply respected, she earned it hard’.
By extension, our brand is also a tribute to all the aceituneras, the women olive workers who today, in infinitely better working conditions, continue to collaborate in the task of collecting the precious fruit of the olive tree.