Wellspent is headed to Italy to secure the bag (full of olive oil!). That’s right, for the first time since the world turned upside down, we’re heading to Europe for some quality time with our trusted producers. The foursome - Jim & Judith, Noah & Kate - will travel from Florence to Sicily meeting with the folks who’ve been supplying us with olive oil for decades, all the while looking for new sources of high quality, affordable extra virgin olive oil to bring home. Justifying frequent trips to Italy was one of Jim’s primary reasons for starting this company, and he and Noah are taking full advantage: in addition to olive oil, they’ll be looking for all manner of tasty treats for the Wellspent shelves, including tinned fish, pasta, and fruit and vegetable preserves. Needless to say, we’re excited to taste what they find!
First Stop: Florence! Most people come for the Ponte Vecchio, the Uffizi or Michelangelo’s David, but not us! We’re here to visit the Nenna family’s agriturismo in Casciana Terme, where they produce Novo Frantoio.
Second Stop: We’re off to Umbria to visit Marco and Paolo Bettini! The Bettini family has been producing estate-grown extra virgin olive oil for half a century, and we’ve been importing it to Oregon for over 20 years!
Third Stop: Abruzzo, here we come! We’ll meet with Gaetano Carboni, who heads up operations at Pollinaria, a unique hybrid of artist’s residency, research institute, and organic farm. In addition to olive oil, they produce pasta made from heirloom Italian wheat varieties.
Fourth Stop: Roman holiday! A quick visit to everyone’s favorite ancient city to eat, drink, and take in the sights before we fly to Palermo to pick up the oil trail in Sicily!
Fifth Stop: We’re back on the road of liquid gold! From Palermo, we’ll drive to Sciacca to meet up with our “Sicillian Connection,” aka Giambattista Riolo. Giambattista helps us with logistics on the Italian side of our import operations, and together we’ll visit the cooperative that supplies us with Madre Terra.
Sixth Stop: For the last leg of our trip, we’ll hang in Sicily with Giambattista for a few days to visit other food producers, including the folks who grow our salt packed capers, some potential new tinned fish and pasta vendors, and (of course) meet with several new-to-us olive oil producers. We’ll be sad to say arrivederci to Italy, but we’re excited to share our finds with all of you back home!