July 07, 2006
Strictly Olive Oil, a business dedicated to olive oil marketing and education, has been purchased by Nancy Ash, a specialty foods marketing consultant who specializes in olive oil. The former owner, Betty Pustarfi of Pebble Beach, California, is retiring from the food industry to pursue other interests.
Strictly Olive Oil evolved from Betty’s professional experience as a gourmet foods retailer, her background in marketing, and her personal interest in olive oil. As a retailer she found that customers were reluctant to buy expensive extra virgin olive oils without first tasting them. By offering samples and knowledgeable guidance to her customers, Betty greatly increased sales of quality olive oils. Later Betty expanded the business by offering comparative tastings through other retailers, at food festivals and at trade and consumer seminars. Strictly Olive Oil™ became a vital link between the international olive oil community and U.S. importers, distributors and retailers.
Nancy’s professional interest in olive oil began in 1993 while employed by Manicaretti, an importer of artisanal Italian foods based in Oakland, California. Since then Nancy has trained as a taster and tasting panel leader in both the U.S. and Italy, and has served on the California Olive Oil Council’s tasting panel since its inception in 1998. She also has an extensive background in specialty food sales and marketing, and most recently worked with Restaurant LuLu Gourmet Products.
“I want to present tastings that are both fun and educational”, states Nancy, “and felt that the opportunity to continue Strictly Olive Oil’s educational programs was perfect for me. Extra virgin olive oils have a range of flavors just like wine, and I want to show people how to pair these flavors with other ingredients in their cooking, and how to tell the difference between good flavors and defective ones.”
Nancy plans to include educational information as well as recipes on Strictly Olive Oil’s new website, which is currently being redesigned.