There was a time not so long ago when olive oil was all but guaranteed to come packaged with a label identifying one of the three following places of origin: Italy, Greece or France.
But no longer. The Australians have been pressing quality stuff for years. If, when you hear “Texas” and “oil” together in a sentence, you automatically think “crude,” be advised that the Lone StarState has been producing quality olive oil for a decade now. And the impetus for locavorism— nudged along by global warming—has since introduced a far more surprising addition to the fray.
Canadian olive oil has arrived. Sheri and George Braun planted their first grove of 1,000 olive trees—California sourced, hardy Tuscan varieties like frantoio, maurino, leccino and pendolino—across their 72-acre property on temperate Salt Spring Island back in 2012. And late last year The Olive Farm harvested its first crop (just 450 kg) and extracted from it an inaugural pressing of 35 litres of olive oil—Canada’s first.
This year’s crop, to be harvested in December, will be bigger and reach the market in mid-February, 2018. You can buy some then, at $75 for 200 ml. Or, you can sample it now at select restaurants coast-to-coast, such as Vancouver’s Savio Volpe. At Toronto’s Buca Osteria & Bar, the oil is drizzled on a dish of merluzzo nero (Alaskan black cod, a.k.a. sable sh) sourced from B.C. waters, and plated with potato purée and wild oregano.
“The oil is unique,” Buca chef Rob Gentile asserts. “It’s neon green, with distinct seaweed notes.