Karl Burgart, President and owner of Healthy Harvest Gardens of Wildwood, Missouri recently announced the long awaited arrival of the Olea Estates 3 liter tins of olive oil and bottles of red and white wine vinegars.
If you appreciate exceptional foods you should place your order with Karl ASAP because there are limited quantities of these products. Karl is the exclusive U. S. distributor for these exceptional offerings from a small family farm near historic Sparta. The Chronis family has owned these olive groves since 1856. Karl became friends with the Chronis family after meeting George Cronis at a market in St. Louis in 2009. Karl tasted the organic olive oil and immediately recognized its incredible quality. Growing up in a first generation Italian family here in St. Louis, Karl understood and appreciated the unique properties that combine to make Olea Estates olives and olive oil amazing. To date, Karl has taste tested 142 olive oils and says that he has found none to compare with Olea Estates. I’m certainly not an expert, but it’s definitely the best olive oil I’ve ever tasted. I rationed the contents in my most recent 750 ml bottle of Olea Estates olive oil anxiously awaiting the arrival of the 3 liter tins. As is often the case, shipping delays pushed the arrival date out several weeks. With only a few ounces of Olea Estates oil left, I finally broke down and bought a bottle of a “premium” Australian olive oil that claimed to be “cold pressed, extra virgin olive oil, acidity less than 0.3% with a fresh and fruity flavor”. I planned to save the Olea Estates oil for salads and cook with the Australian oil. I did a blind taste test with the help of my son and I can say the Australian olive oil lost the competition. In fact, the difference in flavor was staggering. I’m tempted to pour the remaining contents of the Australian oil down the drain, but my frugal heritage would disapprove.
So you can imagine how excited I was to finally receive the two 3 L tins of Olea Estates olive oil that I had preordered. I was able to take delivery when I visited Karl at the Ellisville Farmers Market, Thursday, September 15. Now that Karl has a portable credit card swipe app for his smart phone it so easy to pay – he swipes the card, you “finger paint” your signature on his phone and Voila! You don’t have to remember to bring your check book or to stop at the ATM for cash. Buying two tins reduced the cost to $20 per liter which is amazingly low for such incredible oil. Now I can face winter knowing that I have a stock of exceptional quality olive oil. I hope to make it until the 2012 harvest of Olea Estates olive oil. In the unlikely event that we haven’t consumed all the oil by next season, I know it is certified shelf stable for 30 months.
In addition to the olive oil, Karl also distributes several other Cronis family products – green tea also known as shepherd’s tea, Greek oregano, bay leaves, black and green olives, an olive oil soap and recently available – red and white wine vinegars. I have been cooking with the oil, vinegars, oregano, bay leaves and olives as they became available and find the quality to be extraordinary.
The olive oil soap is also amazing – my initial concern was that it would have an oily smell. I was surprised to find that it has very little fragrance; it’s scent is pleasant and it lasts and lasts.
Karl and his distributors offer Olea Estates products through the farmers markets in Byrnes Mill, Kirkwood, Clayton and Ellisville. Most of these markets will be open until some time in October. It’s best to check with each one for operating hours. In addition, Page Williams distributes Olea Estates products on Thursdays from 10 am – 2 pm, outside the Barnes & Noble book store on the Washington University campus. Approval for winter operations in the lobby behind the book store is pending. Page can be contacted at 314-753-6671 if you need more information about the “Wash U” location.
As well as products from Olea Estates, Karl offers a variety of organic produce from his farm in Wildwood. This season has been difficult for vegetable gardening due to the erratic temperatures and variable moisture. In spite of the temperature and water hardships, Karl has offered a variety of organically grown fruits, herbs, and vegetables – basil, kale, chard, tomatoes, turnips, green beans, squash, cucumbers, melons and potatoes. He is adding irrigation to his farm land in preparation for next season. An excavation of an existing, sediment filled pond created a larger pond which will provide consistent water for his expanding gardens. Next season for Healthy Harvest Gardens promises to be bigger and better than ever, with more square footage planted and water readily available from the new pond.
As the 2011 growing season comes to a close, you still have time to visit Karl or one of his distributors at the various markets they attend. Fresh organic produce will be available until the weather ends the season and Olea Estates Greek products will be available until the limited quantities on hand are sold. Then we will begin counting the days until the 2012 season brings us fresh produce and cold pressed olive oil once again.