Would you like some honest oil?

The price paid for the conventional supermarket-bought olive oil – not only that you mainly pay for the highly fashionable bottle but the thing inside might not even be actual olive oil, let alone extra virgin. 

A few years back Forbes published an article titled “The Olive Oil Scam” exposing that about 80% of the olive oil we see in supermarkets is fake. The fakeness ranges from poor quality of the olives to companies that sell flavoured vegetable oil as an olive one.

But the bad news do not end up here. Even if what you buy is an actual olive oil, thousands of birds might have died during the harvest. The sucking machines big companies use for stripping the trees of fruits do suck up and kill resting birds as well. Across Europe there’s 421 million fewer birds than there were 30 years ago.

Even in the shady olive oil business there are a few rays of light. One of them is Honest Toil. 
It is a company run by a Hungarian-English couple living in Greece. They didn’t move there with the idea to start a business. They just bought a house in the Peloponese. And with a house in the Peloponese come olive trees. 

They harvested what grew in their garden, brought it to an old press in their village and on their next trip to Berlin, they packed a few trial bottles of olive oil for their friends with them. Soon they realised that what they brought won’t be enough for the rapidly increasing demand.

The logical thing to do would be to buy more and more parcels and sucking machines and such and start doing this large-scale, right? Well, this isn’t the road the couple went. 
Instead of buying new land, they just asked their neighbours if they’d like to sell some oil. They were more than happy to join because remember – everyone has a few olive trees in their garden that yield up more than the family needs. And they all use the same local press anyway! 

I am nowhere near a culinary expert and if you give me a glass of wine the only tones I am able to tell apart are the sweet and bitter ones. But when I got to taste this olive oil even my ignorant tastebuds felt that this was something. Be it the Greek sun or the love of the farmers or the fact that it is actually extra virgin stuff, it’s great. 

If you want to try for yourself you can buy the oil in shops around Berlin, London and Budapest. And you can fill your own very fashionable bottle as most places sell the oil from 5 or 20 liter containers that were delivered there by cargo bikes.
Who says you cannot make business sustainible? 


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