Similar to so many of our favourite moments—this one happened because of travel.
Michael met Maria on a boat between Santorini and Crete. Her overwhelming Cretan hospitality (which they’re famous for) struck up an instant friendship. Maria came to visit London; Michael returned many times to Greece—soon with the addition of Sarah—and the friendship and ‘extended’ family grew.
With each year and every new visit, we learned more about the culture, the people, the land. Olive oil holds a special place, and so we started bringing it back for our family and friends in London and the US.
From cures to religion to pride of place at every meal time—olive oil is the most important staple.
It is downright *gold* to the traditional cultures of the Mediterranean, but everywhere else seems to be lacking basic knowledge about something that's so commonplace in the kitchen.
The decision to start a business to share the Amargiotakis oil with you lovely people came about because:
- We were obsessed with the quality and flavour of the oil. Every time we used it in London, the taste connected us back to Maria's table in Crete. Our friends would try it and re-affirm; there's something special here, y'all.
- We adore our Greek ‘family’ and their hospitality has been so tremendous over the years that we really want to help them pursue their own dreams. Small-holder farmers don't make a lot of money due to an inequitable system, but oh how they'd love to be full-time farmers and producers. Let's see if we can help...
- When we started to learn more about olive oil, we saw an industry fraught with issues, including a dangerous lack of transparency and anonymised mass production that strips out flavour, health benefits and dignity. It's also stuck in a very traditional mindset and needed a shake up.
So, we set out to champion small-scale farmers like Maria & Jim—and shed a light on the things they produce.
When you look at modern olive oil, you see a broken system. Independent farmers aren't making enough money, the oil changes hands loads of times on the journey between farm and table, and the final oil in your pantry is usually an old, flat and flavourless shadow of what it once was.
There are so many small-batch, single-estate products that never get experienced outside of their own families or local areas. They’re sold into bulk blends and stripped of their identity, getting lost in complicated, global supply chains.
We want to break that chain. We want you to taste something you never would have had the chance to before. Something beautiful and simple that represents where it comes from.
This journey, in our hearts for years, opened up so much more than just the beautiful world of the olive tree and its gifts. We really started to dig into the foundation of it all—the soil.
What we learned along the way has transformed our mission beyond just working with the artisan producers who hold up our food system, but moreover to the land that they live off of and how to make sure they have future harvests for years to come.
Sarah & Michael