Oct 172014
Georgia Olive Farms Olio Nuovo

Georgia Olive Farms Olio Nuovo

Hot Damn! I love, love, love the unfiltered olive oil that comes straight out of the olive mill. Some olive oil companies call it olio nuovo, some call it limited edition, and some, new oil: whatever it’s called this freshly pressed, unfiltered olive oil is a treat.

I’m going to interject a word of warning here. DO NOT SAVE IT FOR LATER. Use it up pretty quickly. Why? Because when some of the olive fruit is left in the oil it spoils faster, but – hey – you didn’t buy a great extra virgin olive oil to look at – right? Go ahead and mangia!

Olive harvesting in the northern hemisphere started in September and in my U.S. state, Georgia, harvesting is almost over. The first to have olive oil is Georgia Olive Farms and now, for one month only, they are selling their fresh, olio nuovo extra virgin olive oil through their online store. I just bought a six pack so hurry and get yours too.

May the sun shine through your branches.


May 222014

In the spring of 2014 Senator Tommie Williams, Darrien Ramsey, and Clint Williams owners of Terra Dolce Farms won an international olive oil competition and now it’s “game on.” Additional olive trees were planted this spring at Terra Dolce and I’m pretty sure they are a variety that hasn’t been planted commercially yet in Georgia. Even though it’s a few years away, I can’t wait to taste the newest evoo.

Terra Dolce‘s fall 2013 harvest, its first and most recent, sold out fast. One of the locations fortunate to sell Terra Dolce is Strippaggio, an olive oil, vinegar and specialty foods store located at Emory Point in Atlanta, Georgia. The owner, Celia Tully, could barely keep the buttery and grassy oil on her shelves.

Celia is very picky about the olive oils she carries at Strippaggio. She carries only US-grown olive oils and only the best. This is what sets Strippaggio apart from most of the other olive oil stores you will find around the US. Few are permitted by their supplier to offer US-grown olive oils and if you want some of the beautiful US-grown oils you find in California and Texas you need to order online or stop in locally. By the way, Strippaggio can sell online too.

Below is a link to a new article from Georgia Public Broadcasting. Enjoy.

Move Over Peaches: Olives Could Be Georgia’s New Popular Crop.

Apr 112014
Sen. Tommie Williams, owner of Terra Dolce Farms in Lyons, Georgia.

Sen. Tommie Williams, owner of Terra Dolce Farms in Lyons, Georgia.

Lyons, Georgia is now on the map for extra virgin olive oil. Terra Dolce Farms, owned by my friend and former colleague, Senator Tommie Williams, has earned Gold this past week at the New York International Olive Oil Competition. The winning oil is from Terra Dolce’s first-ever harvest.

Many, many, many congratulations.

I had the pleasure of tasting several of Terra Dolce’s extra virgin olive oils this past winter. Tommie and his guys hand-picked small batches of different varieties over the course of several weeks, milling and testing as they went – perfecting and data collecting. I have no doubt that all Tommie’s oils in the future will be so lovingly produced.

I’m sure many of you wonder why a Georgia olive-growing farm would be named Terra Dolce. Sure, there is the nod to the Mediterranean region, but it is also a nod to a very famous food from the area, Vidalia Onions.

In 1931 farmer Moses Coleman planted a variety of typically spicy white onions. When he harvested his crop he noticed that the onions weren’t spicy at all, they were sweet. This sweetness was due to the soil present in Toombs County where both Vidalia and Lyons are located. It certainly stands to reason that if the humble onion can be transformed then why not the humble olive.

I texted my congratulations to Tommie today and learned that he is busily planting more trees. I am excited and hope to visit with him this summer in his little piece of terra dolce.

May the sun shine through your branches.


Nov 052013
Logo of Georgia Traveler from Georgia Public Broadcasting

Logo of Georgia Traveler from Georgia Public Broadcasting

My Mom and brother, Joe, were in Savannah enjoying the beach and saw a Georgia Traveler segment about Georgia Olive Farms and the Inn at Still Pond. They called me but I missed it.

I did find it online and here is the link for all to enjoy – Georgia Olive Farms and Inn at Still Pond video.

To all of you who have asked me about making a visit to Georgia Olive Farms, I bet the Inn at Still Pond is a great place to stay for your visit. Berrien Sutton, one of the proprietors of the Inn at Still Pond, is also an owner of Georgia Olive Farms – that’s handy. The Inn is about 25 minutes away from the olive groves. The Inn features an organic farm, relaxation, and some great cooking. Sounds like a good time to me.

May the sun shine through your branches.


Sep 302013

Today National Public Radio’s segment, Morning Edition, discussed foods with health claims. Olive oil was among them.

If you click on the NPR logo below you will be directed to an article about the segment, select Listen to the Story and you will be able to listen to the audio program featuring olive oil. The transcript to the audio is printed here beneath the button.



It’s MORNING EDITION, from NPR News. Good morning. I’m Steve Inskeep.


And I’m David Greene.

We’re sorting out some health food claims this morning, like kombucha. Is this fermented brew really good for you? We’ll find out in a moment. But first, olive oil. The truth: not all oils are created equal.

NPR’s Allison Aubrey reports on what you need to look for to make you’ve got the good stuff.

ALLISON AUBREY, BYLINE: If you pay any attention to health trends, you’ve likely heard about the Mediterranean diet. This is a pattern of eating that includes lots of vegetables, grains and fish – not so much meat – and generous portions of olive oil.

MARY FLYNN: Olive oil is a very healthy food. I consider it more medicine than food.

AUBREY: That’s Mary Flynn. She’s an associate professor of medicine at Brown University. And she says the evidence that olive oil is good for your heart has never been more clear. She points to a big study published earlier this year in the New England Journal of Medicine, where researchers in Spain had men and women in their 50s, 60s and 70s who were at risk of heart disease follow one of three diets. Some ate a low-fat diet. Another group ate a Mediterranean diet with nuts. And a third group ate a Mediterranean diet that included nearly four tablespoons of extra-virgin olive oil per day.

FLYNN: So, they could compare the three diets: Was it nuts, was it olive oil, or was the low fat diet as beneficial?

AUBREY: And what researchers found was that a Mediterranean diet rich in olive oil cut the risk of heart attack and strokes by about 30 percent. Researchers even stopped the study early, since the benefits were so clear.

TOM MUELLER: The fact is, there are a huge range of different health benefits of real extra-virgin olive oil.

AUBREY: That’s Tom Mueller. He has spent the last six years investigating and writing about olive oil. He says olive oil is good for two reasons. It’s mostly unsaturated fat, and extra-virgin oil – which is the highest-grade and least-processed form of olive oil – contains a whole range of other beneficial plant compounds called polyphenols. But here’s the catch: Unfortunately, it turns out that more than half of the extra-virgin olive oil imported into the U.S. has been shown to be sub-standard.

MUELLER: It’s quite often just very low-grade oil that doesn’t give you the health benefits and doesn’t give you taste of that extra-virgin should give you.

AUBREY: In fact, a study from UC Davis found that 69 percent of imports tested failed to meet a USDA quality standard. And Mueller says, in some cases, the oil is just too old. By the time the imported olive oil reaches us, it’s often been shipped from place to place, and sometimes not stored well. And even if it isn’t noticeably rancid, many of the heart-healthy compounds have degraded or fizzled out.

MUELLER: Extra-virgin olive oil is fresh-squeezed olive juice. It’s a fruit juice. Therefore, freshness is a critical question.

AUBREY: Mueller says the FDA used to police olive oil imports to ensure producers were meeting quality and freshness standards. But those efforts have fallen off. So where does that leave those of us who want to get our hands on the healthy stuff? Well, for starters, Mueller says look for brands that carry a harvest date on the bottle. California Olive Ranch oil – which is sold in lots of chain supermarkets nationwide – has a date clearly stamped on the back of the bottle.

I met up with Gregg Kelley of California Olive Ranch at a Safeway grocery store.

GREGG KELLEY: So this is a harvest date. Every single bottle produced by California Olive Ranch includes the date the olives were harvested to produce the oil in the bottle.

AUBREY: And he says the olives were pressed very quickly, so the oil is really fresh.

KELLEY: The most important thing for consumers to remember when they’re purchasing extra-virgin olive oil is it is not wine. It does not get better with age. So olive oil never gets better than the day it was produced.

AUBREY: Now, as long it’s properly stored, the freshness will hold in the bottle, at least for a while. Some bottles now carry an expiration date. But as soon as you open the bottle and expose the oil to oxygen and light, it will slowly start to degrade. So Tom Mueller says don’t make the same mistake his family made.

MUELLER: I grew up with terrible oil. I grew up with a huge tin in my grandparent’s cabin, and that was olive oil for me. And it was moldy and fusty, and it was there for years.

AUBREY: Many factors determine how quickly an olive oil goes bad. But studies suggest once you’ve opened it, you should consume it within four to six months.

Now, oils with the highest levels of heart-healthy compounds tend to be pungent and peppery. And Mueller says if the oil stings the back of your throat a little, that tells you that those beneficial polyphenols really are there. I got the chance to experience this during a tasting of fresh imported oils at Greg Bonaduce’s(ph) olive oil shop in Brooklyn.


AUBREY: Mm-hmm.

BONADUCE: This is an organic Coratina, and it was grown in Peru, and it was just crushed in April.

AUBREY: We did feel that tickle, and it made us both cough.

BONADUCE: That pungency…


BONADUCE: This is definitely a two-cougher.


AUBREY: And Mueller says that’s what you’re looking for.

MUELLER: Once you have that taste, you get used to the little bitterness and the little pungency, you never go back. It’s a completely different experience.

AUBREY: And the healthy one, too.

Allison Aubrey, NPR news.

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May the sun shine through your branches.