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.

www.olivecrazy.com

Apr 242013
 

Mr. Olive Crazy and I’ve made Friday night our official ‘date night’. Tom flies in from wherever on the planet he’s working and I make reservations for us on Open Table while I wait for him at the train station.

Over the course of the last few years the selection of restaurants for our Friday night outings has shrunk to a favorite few. Last week we decided, again, to go to Highland Tap in the Virginia Highlands area of Atlanta. We are fond of its atmosphere, which is below street level and feels like a faded, gentlemen’s club. We are also fond of their food: The menu offerings abundant and every item ordered, well-prepared and delicious. We even developed a fondness for the wait staff, all of whom have been there for ages. I can even name most of them, except for the lady with the bun.

We arrived at about 9:30 pm, a little early for us, and the staff seemed out of sorts. I didn’t look down at the menu since I was waiting to engage in my pre-food-ordering ritual, the summonsing of the cocktail. At last, cocktail in hand and glass on lips I glanced at the menu. “Oh no!” I said aloud. “It’s just one page.” With the assistance of my phone flashlight app, I looked hard at the words. I didn’t really see anything missing even though it was obvious many things were. All our favorites where still listed. That was good. So we placed our orders and sat back for a comfortable evening.

Tom and I had already begun catching up on the events of the week when a warm, fragrant, fresh-baked loaf of bread arrived. “This is new,” I said to Tom. Then our waiter plunked down a small plate and requested our attention to the bottle he was displaying in his hands. We didn’t order wine, I thought. I glanced at the bottle and let out a sort of squeak. It was a bottle of the Georgia Olive Farms latest extra virgin olive oil offering. Delightful, I thought and goodbye butter.

There was still plenty of evoo left after the dipping and sopping, so I poured it on my meat and vegetables. The waiter saw what I was doing and bumped up the volume a bit. What a sweetie.

After dinner I asked the waiter about the menu change. He said that regular diners had mixed feelings. I asked if it was causing some ‘work flow’ issues and he said it was. That explained the feeling of wait staff tizzying that I detected earlier.

All in all, Tom and I were content. The menu was different, the staff hadn’t settled into it’s new groove yet, and the newest addition to the menu, the Georgia Olive Farms extra virgin olive oil, was a welcome surprise.

May the sun shine through your branches.

www.olivecrazy.com

Sep 112012
 

I was at the local “big box” store purchasing school supplies for my youngest son. While traversing the aisles I passed an angry man arguing with a sales clerk. “I want what I bought, damn it” he hollered. I feel your pain buddy, I thought.

Was this man’s sentiment reasonable? I didn’t know, yet without knowing the circumstances surrounding his complaint, I was immediately sympathetic. Why? Because this is how I feel each time I place an item in my shopping cart. I too want what I bought – damn it!

This morning I read an article from the National Journal entitled Why a Lobbying Fight Broke Out Over Olive Oil. It evoked in me that visceral acrimony most of us feel when we or those we care about are wronged. I felt cheated – again, by those same folks who are perpetually cheating us purchasers of olive oil.

Here’s the bulletized back story to the article from the National Journal.

  • Scientific evidence and sensory evaluation proved that both adulterated (fake) olive oil and low-quality olive oil are posing as extra virgin (an actual legal designation) and are currently residing on your grocery shelf.
  • This stuff, which is not what you or I paid for, is being sold around the world to unsuspecting consumers.
  • The sellers of this stuff are major companies who know what they are doing, why they are doing it, and don’t care.
  • These major companies exercise control by making up the voting and decision-making membership on most European regulatory, standards, and trade organizations.
  • They laugh at us while smoking their big cigars and sipping their grappa. You think I’m kidding? I’m not.
  • United States olive growers and extra virgin olive oil producers got mad and decided to take action against this organized mob by developing a set of voluntary standards for themselves. This set of standards is called a marketing order and it only applies to olive oil producers from the United States – no one else.
  • Who could object to a US industry’s desire to self-regulate for the benefit of consumers? The same creeps that are controlling the non-regulation, non-standards, non-enforcement in Europe, that’s who.
  • In the United States the “creeps” operate through the North American Olive Oil Association, a trade association for olive oil importers. Not all olive oil importers are bad guys, but Olive Crazy is throwing the baby out with the bath water. They know what their colleagues are up to.
  • When the US olive growers and olive oil producers decided to regulate themselves, the membership of the NAOOA launched an attack campaign and created another fakery. They set up a group called the Alliance for Olive Oil Quality Standards. A rose by any other name … Now substitute for ‘rose’ a word depicting the smelly product of digestive elimination … Yup, that’s what I mean.
  • The Alliance for Olive Oil Quality Standards spent $80,000.00 to hire a powerful, Washington DC lobbying firm to coerce, with dinners and campaign contributions, the members of the United States Congress to kill the US olive growers and olive oil producers attempt to regulate their own industry. Why?
  • They don’t want us to get what we bought.
  • Damn it!!!!!!!

If you are sick of not getting what you bought then please take the advice of this lowly olive and olive oil enthusiast/champion of consumers everywhere/champion of all producers of great olive oil, and buy your olive oil from olive oil producers in your own country. Folks that you have learned to know and trust. Here are three of my current favorites in the United States:

The Olive Press (California)

California Olive Ranch (California)

Georgia Olive Farms (Georgia). Please note, they have a small grove and are sold out, but will have more evoo available later this fall or in the early winter. It’s great and it goes fast.

May the sun shine through your branches.

www.olivecrazy.com

May 232012
 

The Georgia Olive Growers Association 2012 Spring Seminar was a rousing success. The educational workshop led by Paul Vossen, the Farm Advisor with the University of California at Davis, was excellent. Paul included in his lecture data specific to the southeastern United States. His research was both cautionary and promising.

My favorite part of Paul Vossen’s lecture was about pruning and harvesting. I must admit to a peculiar fascination with both of those topics – good stuff.

Attendance at the seminar increased by about 20% from last year. What I found interesting was that the type of attendees was very different. The crowd this year was mostly large growers and their teams. Interest was in growing not only super-high density olive trees, but other varieties as well. From a tasting perspective, that is good news. My fears of an Arbequina-only, east coast, olive oil industry are unfounded.

The photos below are of the tour of one of the olive groves owned by Georgia Olive Farms. I included, for Mr. Olive Crazy, a photo of two of the Air Force’s A-10 Thunderbolt aircraft that were flying overhead. The aircraft were from Moody Air Force Base which is close to the groves. Even though I am not a military aircraft nut like Mr. Olive Crazy, I liked the old world/new world juxtaposition. I tried to get a photo of the A-10s and the trees together but I couldn’t get the planes to hold still long enough for me to get the shot.

May the sun shine through your branches.

www.olivecrazy.com

May 172012
 

Are you ready? I know I am. After a month delay due to a cold snap and some defoliation in one of the olive groves at Georgia Olive Farms, the Georgia Olive Growers Association (GOGA) 2012 Spring Seminar is back on track.

This educational workshop will be held on May 22, 2012 from 8:00 am to 5:00 pm in Lakeland, Georgia. The first part of the seminar will be at the  Threatte Civic Center. UC Davis olive guru, Paul Vossen, will be leading the educational portion of the seminar.

Before we all travel to the Georgia Olive Farms groves for the second part of the workshop and some hands-on training on how to grow and care for olive trees, some of the Georgia and possibly Florida growers will talk about their experiences. It will be a fascinating time.

If you plan on attending and haven’t registered yet, here is the link to the registration forms and agenda. Contact information, directions, and lots of other good stuff can be found at the link too. I hope to see you there.

May the sun shine through your branches.

www.olivecrazy.com