Saturday, August 31, 2013

The Olive Farmers: A Screen Play

Yesterday morning I had an appointment with Natalie Wheen. She had some olive oil for me to try. We chatted, sampled and I decided to stock her olive oil. Before she left, Natalie spotted some customers browsing our selection of olive oils and suggested they try hers! When she had gone those customers came to me and asked "Is she really an olive farmer? Where does she farm?" So I told them the story, that only moments earlier Natalie had told me. A romantic tale of two women entering the unknown and shaking it up a bit, developing something they are intensely proud of and passionate about. A story that would probably make a great screenplay. So, lucky followers, you can read it here first. The Olive Farmer's Story in Five Acts:
It is 1996. Natalie Wheen is an established writer and broadcaster, covering music and the arts with the BBC. She, along with her friend, the painter Deborah MacMillan, who travels the world helping with the production of her late husband's ballets, decide they need a retreat. A place away from the deadlines, demands and pressures of life.
They fall in love with the beautiful island of Lesvos, Greece. And together they buy a picturesque ruin by the sea, on the south of the island.
As is often the case, it isn't plain sailing. The restoration isn't easy, and they have to buy further land in order to complete it. Costs spiral. But all good plots need a twist.
The land Natalie and Deborah own is packed with olive trees. Lots and lots of mature olive trees. So the plot shifts, and the two women find that instead of quietly writing and painting in their island home, they have become olive farmers. They research. They learn. They are frequently horrified. They study. They make the decision to go organic. They are strict. They ensure their team treat the olives with respect. They shun the approaches which favour quantity over quality. They persevere. They find there is only a three week window between their mountain olives being ripe and the snow making harvest impossible. They stick to their principles. They overcome obstacles. It takes time. But it works.
Natalie and Deborah create two single estate organic extra virgin olive oils. One from olives grown 500-600m above sea level on a rugged, romantic, limestone and marble mountainside, covered in wildflowers and watered by melting winter snow. The other from olives grown on the richer, sheltered soil at sea level. Each is unique. Both are delicious. By 2013 they are winning awards, and their oils are sold at fine food retailers such as Tastes Delicatessen. Surely that would make a fantastic final scene! ;) 
For those wanting to sample the oil do pop into Tastes. The olives are all hand picked in December when they are the perfect mix of green, pink and black. The olives are milled immediately upon picking and the resulting oil is bottled as soon as possible to preserve its unique characteristics. It is unfiltered and unadulterated. The oil has a light consistency and golden colour. Each bottle has the required best before date, but also the more informative harvest date. The oils are top quality "finishing oils" perfect for lightly steamed summer vegetables, salads, chilled soups, fish, dipping bread, pasta etc.

The oil from the mountainside Agatheri Grove is subtle, delicate and smooth with long and complex flavour. It is perfect for use with fine salads, steamed vegetables and baked fish dishes. The oil from the lower Avlaki Grove is more robust, with a grassy and fruity flavour and buttery finish. It is brilliant with Mediterranean foods such as sliced tomatoes, ratatouille, roasted vegetables or pasta and soups.

Friday, August 16, 2013

Another great day to be a shop keeper!

It may be a slow, wet, August day. But it has gotten off to a pretty good start here! An email from a customer to tell me he "Just enjoyed a nice Omelette with two of your lovely eggs.". Then a visit from another with the gift of a jar of fantastic salsa he'd made (using chillies I'd sold!). Another with photographs of the bread he made with the flour I sold him earlier in the week. Then another drove by, wound down her window to tell me the fruit she'd bought last week was "amazing".

I know I've said before that Eton has the best customers. Time to say it again though!

Thank you to all the lovely customers who make this such a great place to be a shop keeper every day!

Saturday, August 03, 2013

Missing Our News?

I wrote a post on facebook today, which suggested some ways to make sure people who like Tastes Deli see my facebook posts in their news feed. The problem is the people who need the information are the very people who won't get to see the post in their news feed! So I have pasted it here as well. Just in case!

I've heard today from some customers who were disappointed to hear the Amex ‪#‎ShopSmall‬ offer was in July rather than November this year. They "Like" Tastes Delicatessen on facebook but didn't know about the offer. The problem is that facebook doesn't display all posts in all news feeds. So although I wrote four posts about the offer, some people didn't see any of them. Which is a shame.

You can increase the likelihood of seeing posts by asking facebook to "Show in News Feed" posts from pages you like*. It doesn't guarantee to show all posts though, even if you ask! If you interact with pages you like, by also "liking" posts, or commenting, then you also increase your likelihood of seeing similar posts in your news feed. Again it doesn't guarantee that you will see everything. But hopefully it might show a few more. Unfortunately, those who are missing my posts will probably miss this one as well!

If anyone has any more tips do let me know!

*To "Show in News Feed" go to the page you have liked and click on the "Liked" button just below the wide rectangular cover photograph, hopefully a list will appear. Make sure there is a tick next to "Show in News Feed" (as shown in the photograph).

I should probably also apologise for not posting much to the blog recently. I've been spending too long on facebook! Which may be a waste of time if no-one sees what I write!