Not long before the pandemic hit, this super cool guy walked into the olive oil store that I managed. We struck up a conversation and he told me that he owned an olive oil and balsamic vinegar tasting room in Flagstaff, Arizona. His passion for the product and business model paralleled mine. He was indeed a kindred spirit. In fact, we had a lengthy conversation recently, and I’m planning a visit to his shop here in the next month or so.
While in my shop, Scotty and I talked about just about everything related to the business and it was a great joy to meet someone who didn’t just own a business; he works it. You can read on my friend Scotty’s website about his father’s health transformation and how they got into the olive oil biz. If you’re looking for quality olive oil that actually has the health benefits found in the unripened fruit, Olive the Best will hook you up with free shipping on orders over $39.00 and they offer great gift sets and awesome promotions throughout the year.
Promoting the competition
If you have read other posts here, you may have read that I am planning to open an olive oil store in the greater Las Vegas valley at some point. So why would I promote a business that does the same thing I want to do? Three reasons:
- No Competition – Unless someone is actively drawing your customers away from you, there’s no competition. I’m not even in business, but many of the recipes I’ll be posting require quality olive oil and/or vinegar, so I’m happy to share links to quality suppliers I consider to be partners, not competitors.
- Affiliate Marketing – If you’re in business, you may think that your ideas and contacts must be locked down like Fort Knox. I don’t believe it. Unless you have some kind of proprietary product or service (which should be patented and trademarked), you’re likely doing what others are also doing. I get it – you have worked long and hard to get where you are, so it’s not easy to just give up knowledge and experience to those who haven’t “earned” it. But what if helping and teaching others what we know catapults a new entrepreneur or struggling small business to success? I want to share as much experience as possible with anyone who needs it. Even if I get to build my own olive oil shop, as an entrepreneur, I also want to see other small businesses flourish.
- Good Will – If you read #2, you already know I’m not exactly “competitive”. I can imagine the eyes rolling as they read that I’m telling you to give away business. But after 25+ years in and around business, I have seen both sides of the Good Will coin. And I can tell you from experience that the businesses that were led by selfish and narrow-minded people are all closed. If and when I do get my store open and running, there is no way I’m opening stores in other cities or states. If you tell me you’re traveling to Flagstaff, AZ, I’m definitely going to tell you to stop by Scotty’s tasting room to enjoy that experience. I even offered to write free articles to increase sales on his website! If you decide to order from Scotty after my store is open, I’m not offended! There is plenty of business to go ’round in this relatively new concept.
Only Buy the Good Stuff
If you’re following my recipes and health journey, I can’t stress enough the importance of buying foods and ingredients from sources you can trust…and I don’t mean just buying foods with organic labels. I mean, you really have to do your homework when it comes to food sourcing. There is corruption in all sorts of foods, such as olive oil, honey, fish, wine, grains, and meat. Believe it or not, many foods aren’t even regulated by the FDA – olive oil is one of them! With lax food regulations and quality control, it can be difficult to find trustworthy food sources; but it is possible. Stay tuned for links to quality whole foods and sources for premium ingredients. They’re out there. We just have to find them.
Tasting Rooms Give Life to New and Established Cooks
So about the olive oil tasting room – the concept has been around in the United States since about 2005. Many tasting rooms are set up so you can stroll through a self-tour and taste as many oils and vinegars as you can stand (DO NOT taste all the vinegars in one day, unless you’re trying to lose the feeling in your tongue for three days!).
Self-tours are great, but I highly recommend having an associate give you a tour. When it comes to olive oil and balsamic vinegar, there’s actually quite a bit to learn. Having an expert at hand to suggest pairings (olive oil and balsamic vinegar together) and answer questions makes the experience worthwhile. You’ll be amazed at the chemistry of olive oil!
When I first started working in a tasting room, I really had no idea what the “real” olive oil concept was all about, and my cooking skills definitely lacked. But it didn’t take long to start using this product in almost everything I made, and on a daily basis. If I needed butter, I would use olive oil that was infused with plant material and tasted like butter. Salad dressings were a no-brainer with a variety of flavors at hand, but I learned how to bake olive oil cakes, infuse fudge, kick up popcorn, and make vinegar cocktails (both virgin and alcoholic). Once you learn about unripened olive oil health benefits, you may even find yourself using it on your skin and smoothing it through your hair.
Oh yeah! If it isn’t obvious by now, I am hooked on good olive oil and balsamic vinegars. Dinner guests rave over dressings and marinades, and all my little people love the flavored vinegar bubbly drinks without the garbage. Whether you know your way around the kitchen, or are just getting started with your culinary skills, products from Olive the Best are bound to liven up your kitchen and be hit with family and friends. I’ll be posting recipes using these products, but if you want to find out if you have a local store that sells quality olive oil, you can call the supplier, Veronica Foods at (510) 535-6833. You can tell them that you’re looking for a store in your neighborhood and they’ll find the closest store to you. There’s nothing like the tasting room experience, so be prepared to have your socks knocked off!
Recipes are coming! I just got a fresh batch of oils and vinegars from Olive the Best, so we’ll be working with Oregano balsamic vinegar, Persian Lime olive oil, and Ultra Premium plain olive oils (I literally drink one of them!). I’m also in the process of recipe development and my focus is usually on allergen-friendly meals. If you have food allergies, but have a favorite recipe you miss, post it below in the comments! I would love to take a crack at modifying a recipe just to suit your needs.