The Olive Orchard imports superior oils from growers across the globe.
The owners of the Olive Orchard want to demystify the complexities of olive oil.
The locally based importer of quality olive oils from across the globe feel they've hit on something with consumers, bringing in the golden elixir from mostly small producers who grow and press their olives on site.
In other words from orchard to table.
"Olive oil today is where wine was 20 years ago," said Jeff Boothman, CEO of the company, which is headquartered in a climate-controlled warehouse on Goodale Boulevard (although there is no retail component at the site).
Like wine, olive oil has myriad dynamics and its flavor profiles run the gamut, from lightly fruity to deep and rich, almost grassy with a bite, Boothman said.
"Certainly different flavors of olive oil will complement different foods, some better, some worse," he said.
So the owners have taken to spreading the word about their line of products to retail sites, such as the farmers markets at the North Market, where they provide samples and a crash course on the subject.
"It's an easy thing to talk about once you get people to taste it," said Caroline Haskett, a partner in the business.
They make a few promises about the products they import. It's always:100 percent extra virgin, produced with less than 0.8 percent acidity. Of single origin, with the grower, region and live variety published on the bottle and the website. First cold-pressed, meaning no heat or chemicals are used in the process. Produced from only the fruit of the olive tree.
Olive Orchard also carries a line of flavored oils, such as lemon, garlic, thyme, orange and hot pepper. Bottles generally come in 250 milliliters and 500 milliliters and cost between $12 and $17, Boothman said.
The business was founded five years ago by sisters Patricia and Sue Haskett, cousins of current-co-owner Jeff Haskett, husband of Caroline. Patricia Haskett moved to Greece with her husband and was struck by the quality of the native olive oil and how it was used in so many food applications. The couple eventually befriended a local grower, the Demarakis family, who would become the Olive Orchard's first producer.
Meanwhile, the sisters co-founded the importing company in Northeast Ohio, where Sue lived. The sisters eventually left the business, selling it to Kieren Metts, Boothman and the Hasketts.
They developed a personal relationship with all of their producers, who are from Italy and Greece, as well as such regions as Turkey, Chile and South Africa.
Boothman thinks customers will notice the quality of flavor.
"There's a lot of care that goes into a good extra virgin olive oil that has a direct line to your house, as opposed to those that go through the huge mega-farm complex," he said.
The Olive Orchard now has a pipeline to local consumers through several retailers, including Huffman's Market, Twisted Vine and the Beehive Bread Co. And local foodies seem to be catching on, as sales are nearly doubling almost every month, said Boothman, who would not divulge specific sales numbers.
"The market's enormous," he said.
Chris Lindemann, assistant manager at the Twisted Vine in the Grandview Heights area, said he's sampled the Greek and Crete oils and said they have " a wonderful purity of flavor."
"They have a really nice kind of freshness to them," he said.
For more information, visit Olive Orchard's website at theoliveorchard.com.