Olive oil is at the heart of what we do...
but getting the good stuff to Portland has become more difficult over the last couple of years. Wellspent founder Jim Dixon notes that it’s important to remember that olive oil is an agricultural product, and it’s subject to the vagaries of pests, climate change, and other variables. These factors, combined with pandemic-related shipping disruptions, have literally changed the landscape of olive oil production across the world: among our suppliers, yields are down, harvest times are unpredictable, and costs have risen dramatically.
The difficult news is that–due largely to the issues outlined above–one of our key long-term partners announced recently that they are completely discontinuing production of the oil we bottle as Everyday Extra Virgin. The good news is that Jim and Noah are headed overseas to meet with our Italian partners and look for new sources of high quality, small production, & affordable extra virgin olive oils to bring home to Oregon. In the meantime, we’re hosting one of our legendary Olive Oil Garage Sales, offering you deeply discounted prices on past-season olive oil from Italy.
The Olive Oil Garage Sale
We’ve got a lot of oil in our warehouse from the past few harvest years. While we try to import only as much as we think we can sell until harvest and pressing comes around again, determining what that looks like has been challenging for a few reasons.
The pandemic disrupted international ocean shipping, causing long delays and leaving us scrambling to have olive oil when we needed it, then leaving us with too much by the time the olive harvest came around again. For something like salt, it’s easy to sit on the surplus since we know it’ll eventually sell.
But olive oil is an agricultural product, produced just once every year, and our Italian farming partners depend on our annual orders to stay in business. They’ve been affected by climate change, with warmer temperatures causing olive fly infestation in areas where it was never a problem. The changes also make annual harvest time uncertain and impact harvest yields, which in turn has led to price increases up to 30%. We’ve worked with these farmers for more than 20 years, and our long relationships assure that we’re able to offer you some of the best and freshest Italian extra virgin olive oil.
And while the garage sale oil is older, it’s still good for everyday use. It’s true that younger oil has a bolder, more complex flavor. As olive oil ages, the phenolic compounds responsible for the sharp, peppery flavor called pungency slowly fade and the oil becomes softer and more mellow. Our founder Jim Dixon cooks with it, just like his friends in Italy who use the freshest oil for table use but use the previous years’ harvest for everything else.
But you won’t need to just take our word. You can taste these older oils at the sale and decide for yourself. We’ll have 1, 3, and 5 liter tins of several different Italian oils at deeply discounted prices.