Many of us envision the Italian extra virgin olive oil dribbled on our plate, or swirled over our fresh pasta to be from a small grove in a remote region of Italy where old men in fedoras prune trees among a valley of sloping green hills. And many varieties may begin this way, but as the laws of capitalism take over, so does the dilution of pure EVOOs with lesser-quality oils.
This “more bang for your buck” practice has become the motto of many of the more popular Italian brands who often claim that theirs is a “product of Italy” but fail to disclose that it is a mishmash of cheap varieties ““ some being from Mediterranean countries other than Italy.
The good news is that new regulations on EVOO may be put in place soon, but until then, you can opt to adopt your own olive tree in Calabria, Italy. The company who tends to these adopted trees is known as Tre Olive (“Tre” for the three cousins who own it) and they believe in doing things the old fashion way.
In 1934, the Fazio family purchased a mill and began working with local farmers to harvest the olives. Sixty years later, cousins, Joe Maruca, Diego Fazio and Sandro Falvo decided it was time to branch out and sell their delicious product in the US. They formed Tre Olive, a company that would retain their family’s traditional harvesting practices throughout the production, bottling and shipment of their product.
To keep from selling-out to large distributors, the cousins came up with the idea of allowing customers to adopt their very own olive tree from the family grove. The adoption costs $110 (plus shipping and handling) per year, and renders 3 liters of EVOO that is delivered directly to your doorstep.
Once the adoption process is final, new parents receive an official certificate of adoption; a photo of the adopted tree; (the tree is tagged with the adopter’s name for the year) and that rich, unadulterated EVOO from the adopted tree, which will arrive in six half-liter tins in the spring.
And if you’re ever in Calabria, you might want to think about stopping by — the family welcomes customers to visit their olive tree. Who knows, you may even be able to snag a photo and turn those musings of rolling hills and men in fedoras into a “tre-mendous” reality.
Photo by: Boobooo/Flickr