It all started with a shared passion and deep appreciation for olive trees, an admiration of their generosity, beauty, and all the symbolism and richness they embody. That combined with our love for the history of olive oil, particularly Lebanese olive oil, old enough to tell the tale of the Lebanese people – civilization after civilization – beginning with the Phoenicians, the first to have domesticated the wild olive and spread it across the Mediterranean Sea, to the present Lebanese olive growers working hard to maintain these lands and keep their groves flourishing.
Tony and I decided to embark on our great olive oil adventure when Tony visited Lebanon in the winter of 2016-17 and had the chance to taste the freshly pressed green olive oil from my dad’s grove. In my family we pour this oil generously at every single meal, on hummus, tabbouleh, fattoush, baba ghannouj, labneh, balila, kebbe nayye, kebbe zghirtawiyyeh, to name a few.
Attending an olive oil competition pushed us to pursue our dream to introduce high quality Lebanese extra-virgin olive oil into the global market. We knew our oils would make a great appearance and be as celebrated as the more famous Italian, Spanish and Greek olive oils.
We called our new company “Oleavanti”, a name combining olea, the scientific name of the olive tree, with a Spanish cheer, “¡Olé!,” and “avanti”, the Italian word for progress. The name also contains a reminder of the Levant, the motherland of the olive and the place where I was born.
That fall we were proud to bottle two beautiful extra-virgin olive oils from Northern Lebanon: my family’s blend of souri and aayrouni olives from our Ehden Grove as well as the 100% souri oil from the nearby Qadisha Grove. These two oils capture the efforts of every one of us and reflect the story of our olive trees as told by their protectors and guardians. We spent the following year sharing our oil with friends, chefs, and people we met at the local farmer’s market.
After these beginnings, we have had two more harvests and have won medals every year at competitions in Italy. We have expanded into prestigious restaurants and grocery stores and have seen our oils picked up by distributors across the United States. We continue to refine our practices, to perfect our milling and grove management and to bring our oils to a widening market.
As we have traveled each year to Lebanon for the pressing in October, we have met artisanal producers of other exquisite commodities that embody the unique terroir of the country. We are working to expand our portfolio to bring these precious goods to America and to support the traditional way of life in Lebanon.
I feel blessed to be able to share this bounty with the world.
Winter is the time of readying. The recently picked trees are pruned and fertilized for the coming year.
Spring is the time of beginnings. The trees begin to flower and the rains come in from the Mediterranean.
Summer is the time of waiting. The olive fruits grow and flourish under the bright sun and the gentle breezes.
Fall is the time of harvest. As the olives just begin to take a darker shade of green, they are picked and pressed and transformed into verdant nectar.
Every olive tree should be deeply respected.
To introduce the US to the best of what Lebanon has to offer.
To sustain the livelihood of olive growers by maintaining their groves and protecting Lebanon’s wealth and heritage from extinction.
To share our products to help realize this dream.