My journey with the olive oil started 10 years ago; we drove onto this estate in June 2010, after 20 years in Central Africa where my husband Nick had been involved in corporate agriculture and I was teaching.
I stood in the shed and watched that green fruit go through a simple process of washing, crushing and malaxing and then separating into this amazing green extra virgin olive oil. It was all so magical, surrounded by the smells of fresh olive, green grass and clean air! And all in the space of an hour – nothing added, nothing taken out!
I was given a small blue glass to taste the fresh olive oil; my eyes stung, I coughed, and all these sensations were going on in my mouth. I was HOOKED!
After winning a Double Gold award for that olive oil in 2010, I thought everyone would come rushing over to buy the oil produced at RIO LARGO, but alas those tanks stood full! I was a teacher for over 20 years in South Africa, Malawi and Zambia and never thought of doing anything else, but I decided to take this beautiful oil to the consumer if they did not want to come to the estate!
I had a little basket filled with bottles of fresh EVOO and would knock on doors, urging friends, chefs and restauranteurs (actually anyone that would listen!) to taste the oil.
WHY they would ask? We have olive oil in our kitchens!
But have you TASTED it? Taste Olive oil? No ways!
And then one day a manager at a famous restaurant tasted it … and loved it! He introduced me to the top distributors in the area…the rest is history! They loved it and they too wanted to share it!
It was the beginning of a fabulous journey with that olive.
TRY IT-YOU’LL LOVE IT became our slogan.
I have since taken RIO LARGO nationally and internationally, travelling with our oils to the most fabulous parts of the world and learned so much along the way.
This incredible product has not only opened doors to so many new experiences but allowed us to meet fascinating people from all corners of the globe, all connected through extra virgin olive oil.
Even with all that, nothing prepares one for the challenges of getting that fabulous fresh oil into kitchens. It is a tireless journey, but…the rewards are great.
I was invited to join the Women in Olive Oil group in early May this year, as the representative in South Africa. What an incredible celebration of this magical product – women from 40 countries who are all willing to put everything they have learned on the table and share the journey with each other; the joys, the challenges, the connections and the future of extra virgin olive oil across the globe.
Can you imagine a more perfect way to get that real EVOO into kitchens across the globe?
Watch this space as we follow these wonderful women in olive oil… and share the gift of health!