Joe and Son’s Olive Oils has “olive” the reasons to celebrate National Extra Virgin Olive Oil Day on Sunday, September 30. Visit their store at 3204 W. Bay to Bay Boulevard in South Tampa during the weekend of September 29-30 for a special “buy one, get one half off” offer on all Ultra Premium certified extra virgin olive oils and aged balsamic vinegars!
Andrea Messina Gebbia, owner of Joe and Son’s Olive Oils, says, “From my ancestors’ farms in Italy to my great-grandfather’s South Tampa grocery store, my love of olive oils is rooted in family history. Olive oil imparts such great flavor to our family recipes, and it has so many health benefits. At the store, we have monthly cooking classes that really show how versatile olive oil can be. I am proud to share my love of olive oil with our community, not just on National Extra Virgin Olive Oil Day but every day, and I’m excited to be opening a second location in Carrollwood later this year.”
Many people purchase olive oil without really knowing what they are buying, and most don’t realize that olives are actually stone fruits like cherries. Gebbia and the staff at Joe and Son’s Olive Oils work every day to crush the common misconceptions about extra virgin olive oil. In fact, Gebbia is even writing a cookbook featuring olive oils and balsamic vinegars, including tips for their use, which will be published this fall.
Extra virgin olive oil is seasonal, perishable, and best when fresh. A rule of thumb when purchasing olive oils is to buy from retailers that let you sample. All of the oils and vinegars at Joe and Son’s Olive Oils are offered for complimentary tasting, and all bottles are poured on site. Joe and Son’s also provides a certificate of analysis on all of the regional olive oils in stock, which gives valuable information like the date of crush, the polyphenol levels, and other crucial chemistry.
In essence, extra virgin olive oil is more similar to fresh-squeezed fruit juice than it is to an aged wine. Olives are harvested seasonally, and a traditional cold pressing technique is used to extract their juice, without highly industrial processes or added chemicals. Joe and Son’s Olive Oils are all “first cold pressed products,” which means that the olive has been crushed once below room temperature. In fact, while the industry standard temperature for pressing is 80 degrees, the oils carried by Joe and Son’s are pressed at a chilly 68 degrees.
Real extra virgin olive oil is unrefined, and it is the highest grade of olive oil on the market, rated on its flavor, odor, and level of acidity (determined by a free oleic acid content of 0.8 percent). Joe and Son’s Olive Oils exceeds these high standards by offering Ultra Premium certified extra virgin olive oils with less than a 0.3 percent rating.
When sampling, extra virgin olive oils should have a taste and smell that reminds you of fresh olives, but they also should have an element of bitterness and a pepperiness that you feel in the back of your throat. Look for bottles with a “best by” date or a date of harvest to ensure freshness.
Real extra virgin olive oil has many benefits when incorporated into a healthy diet. It is high in antioxidants and polyphenols, which have natural anti-inflammatory properties and can help lower blood pressure. Extra virgin olive oil is low in saturated fat, high in omega-3 fatty acids, and high in oleic acid, supporting cardiovascular health. Olive oil has been found to help stabilize blood sugars, support gastrointestinal health, prevent belly fat, and improve insulin sensitivity. Researchers also have identified a compound in olive oil called oleocanthal that is effective in preventing some cancers.
Joe and Son’s Olive Oils is a family-owned and operated specialty food store, deeply rooted in Tampa. They offer Ultra Premium certified extra virgin olive oils, aged balsamic vinegars, and specialty foods. For more information, visit their website at www.joeandsonsoliveoils.com.