Here’s What’s New on Both Sides of the Sea
Have you ever thoughtfully looked at every single detail on food packaging?
Well, I have not. Until now.
It’s been a crazy year, and we’ve been learning a lot about launching an olive oil importing company. We’ve also been learning a lot about legal importation paperwork, FDA label regulations, customs brokers, and breaking down % daily values for nutritional facts on product labels as we’ve been in COVID-19 lockdown.
My husband Pino came home the other day to bags of coffee, jars of pickled veggies, and containers of all shapes and sizes spread across the kitchen table. I’ve (Laura) never looked at labels so closely in my life, nor thought I ever would. But there were decisions to be made on information placement, detailed wording, and design elements to ensure food packaging compliance. And I have a lot to learn.
In Italy, this is a quiet season in the world of olive oil farming. Ciccio and family are tilling the dirt between the olive trees as a natural way to discourage weed growth and avoid use of pesticides. They clean around the bottom of every single tree trunk so that the plant can put all its energy into growing beautiful fruit. Little olive tree sprouts grow like sticks at the base of these trees, and some of the strong ones will be saved to plant and cultivate into trees. Plus, a clean olive grove is aesthetically beautiful!
In the last few months the Puglianos also planted hundreds of olive trees in a grid-like fashion across about seven acres, and over the next 5-8 years these little babies will blossom into gorgeous, gnarly olive trees. The fine, powdery soil in the hills surrounding Vena di Maida outside Lamezia Terme hold onto humidity and create a nice, moist environment ideal for roots to take hold and be nourished. Receiving constant sea breeze from both sides, this Southern Italian region of fertile land can easily produce almost any fruit or citrus.
In other news, our olive oil analysis came back. We’re celebrating hard work paid off with a cold glass of vino bianco. While you stay tuned for the results, why not learn about a lot of terms we’ll be using, such as free fatty acids (FFA), acidity, and polyphenols? These details are important to learn about as you make decisions on the olive oil you’ll be consuming and make sense of the wide spectrum of oils being produced around the world.