For those who had the privilege of meeting author Tom Mueller this past month at Lucero’s tasting room, a new understanding of olive oil was reached. The many facets of the olive oil industry were discussed, including the heights and richness of olive oil all the while reaching the depths of an unregulated situation and the dark side of organized criminals.
Tom, author of Extra Virginity: the Sublime and Scandalous World of Olive Oil, presented to a small crowd at Lucero Olive Oil’s tasting room on a Wednesday evening, joined them on a tour of the mill with me and signed 72 copies of his book.
Watch Tom's presentation on our Lucero You Tube Channel, or read on for a summary.
It is baffling that great and miserable oils can be sold under the same label of extra virgin. Tom's book dives into the depths of the olive oil industry, evaluating what makes good oil so divine and the corrupted business of adultered olive oil.
He has found that throughout the world, including countries such as Spain, Italy and the United States, many companies put very little olive oil in bottles labeled as extra virgin olive oil. He used terms such as deodorized, refined and mistreated to describe what some olive oils go through before being bottled and put on shelves.
Simply and powerfully, this book could potentially “change the game” of olive oil.
Unfortunately, it’s a game that needs to be changed. Tom, as well as many others like myself and Lucero Olive Oil, would love for the book to raise awareness and celebrate what he calls the “good guys” of the industry, such as Lucero Olive Oil.
“It’s hard to change 1,000 years of prejudice,” Tom said while explaining why 300 million olive oil consumers will probably be the leader in the industry change. It’s about awareness on the part of the consumer of what the good stuff is, and a willingness to pay for it.
He hopes that the United States, as well as other countries, can establish a quality standard for extra virgin olive oil to avoid olive oil becoming an anonymous commodity rather than a high end product.
“Good oil is easy to make, excellent oil is hard to make.”
Lucero Olive Oil’s products are labeled with the California Olive Oil Council’s seal, certifying our oils as extra virgin. The COOC’s chemical standard test and tasting panel is one of the only ways to certify California olive oil as extra virgin.
One of the things that we really find interesting about Tom, and really valuable, is the passion that he shares in the olive oil industry.
We encourage Lucero fans, and all those who want to learn more about the often overlooked and unsung heros in olive oil, to watch Tom's presentation, or read Extra Virginity! It's a great read, thoroughly entertaining and truly an engrossing story. There is a limited number of signed copies available from Lucero, so call us to reserve yours.