“Fresh extra virgin olive oil (EVOO) is a totally different taste experience,” notes Stephanie Harmon of Bumble Olive Oil Company, which opens in the Westfield Franklin Park Mall in the beginning of June. The new store features 25 varieties of extra virgin olive oil, which has been cold pressed just one time along with 26 different balsamic vinegars and a few gift items.
“Not only does fresh EVOO taste wonderful, it offers amazing health benefits, as well,” Mrs. Harmon reported. “Our supplier, Veronica Foods, insists that their olive growers pick their fruit at the peak time to ensure the quality. The fruit is crushed exactly one time, ‘first press,’ with the temperature not exceeding 86 degrees Fahrenheit. Lower quality oils are crushed multiple times at a higher temperature to extract more oil from the fruit, which alters the chemistry and reduces the health benefits,” she said.
“The health benefits of extra virgin olive oil are extensive. EVOO contains stronger concentrations of phytonutrients, especially polyphenols, that have well-known anti-inflammatory properties,” Mrs. Harmon pointed out. Olive oil helps lower levels of blood cholesterol, is rich in antioxidants, helps decrease systolic and diastolic blood pressure, can alter the structure of toxic proteins in the brain and appears to improve bone mineralization and calcification.
“People can sample each of the oils, which are in fustis (stainless steel containers made for holding olive oils) on top of the tasting bar. To purchase, customers can fill a 200-ml, 375-ml or a 750-ml specially-made bottle with the oil of their choice,” Josh Harmon suggested. Gift packs of four stainless steel 177-ml bottles are also sold. “Anything we have in the store may also be purchased online,” he added.
Each of the fustis contains a tag telling where the oil came from and when it was harvested. Information regarding any herb infusion is also on the tag. “Oils from our growers are infused with different herbs at the time of pressing,” Mrs. Harmon explained.
In addition, all of the extra virgin olive oils are rotated every six months to ensure the highest quality, according to the Harmons. This practice allows for the fresh harvest to be available for Bumble customers. The Veronica Foods growers are from Spain, Italy and Greece along with Australia and New Zealand with harvests at different times of the year.
“True balsamic vinegar comes from Modena in northern Italy. White Trebbiano grape pressings are boiled to a dark syrup and aged in oaken kegs with vinegar ‘mother.’ Over the years, the syrup is placed in smaller and smaller kegs made of chestnut, cherry, ash, mulberry and juniper until it is ready. The different woods add character to the vinegar and, as it ages, moisture evaporates, further thickening the vinegar and concentrating the flavor,” Mrs. Harmon explained. “We have a variety of balsamic vinegars aged from up to 18 years of fused and infused blends for customers to try. We offer suggestions for combinations for marinades, dressings and more. Those combinations are endless. We also encourage customers to submit recipes they have found to work well for them,” she suggested.
“We also have specially-made bottles just for our oils,” Mr. Harmon noted. “These are filled and sealed on site,” he said. The Harmons encourage their customers to return empty bottles to be recycled.
Bumble Olive Oil Company also offers William Bond pepper mills, Function Aprons and Wild Thymes Chili Dipping Sauces.
Bumble Olive Oil Company is open daily from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m.