Esber Esber was born in Lebanon and came to Canada to study 46 years ago. He loved Canada and stayed. Esber and his wife Roula moved to Lachute in April, 2019. It is a good home base because their sales territory encompasses the region between Ottawa and Quebec City.
When Esber was a student in Lebanon, he helped his grandparents every morning at 5am before school and each evening in their olive groves. Olives, olive oil and tobacco were the only means of revenue for his grandparents. At season’s end, Esber and his family were compensated with olives and olive oil, but never money. Hard work was a way of life for Esber’s family. His father held two jobs and worked around the clock 12 months a year, never taking vacation.
In 1998, Esber inherited the olive groves and land from his parents. In 1999, he opened Koura, his own business here to import olives and olive oil from Lebanon. Esber’s wife, parents, his brother in Dubai and his three children are implicated in the business.
Initially, Esber presented and sold his Koura olive products at a Lachute food market which attracted local small businesses, restaurants, hotels and natural food stores. They started ordering olives each week.
For generations, the Esber family passionately cultivated their olive trees, which grow at an altitude of 350 meters in limestone in Koura, Lebanon. Olives are separated from branches and leaves, then washed with water and pressed. Olive paste is kept at a temperature between 27 and 29 degrees celsius. Oil is extracted 24 hours after harvesting olives, guaranteeing the best quality of extra virgin olive oil. Extraction is carried out mechanically without chemical treatments, fertilizers, synthetic herbicides or GMO’s. Koura oil is then exported immediately to Canada to be bottled in Quebec.
Lebanon is renowned for its olives, with Lebanese virgin olive oil being among the most expensive varieties. Lebanon’s fertile lands and mild climate provide perfect conditions for olive growth. It is home to the oldest living olive trees in the world. The 16 trees, “The Sisters Olive Trees of Noah,” in Bechealeh, North Lebanon date back 6,000 years ago.
About 59,000 hectares of land in Lebanon is used to grow olives, producing 75,000 tons of olives and 10,000 tons of olive oil per year. Olive trees furnish olives only every two years. This year’s harvest will be preserved to cover demands for the next two years.
It took time and hard work, but Esber’s Koura olives are now well- recognized, loved and savored, “one olive at a time”. www.huileriekoura.com or 819 918-3167