I am so excited. One of my most favorite food events — the annual Mistra Estates Extra Virgin Olive Oil sale — is about to begin and it is happening earlier than ever this year. If you are a regular reader, you are probably already familiar with the story of this high-quality olive oil, known affectionately as “Liquid Gold” by its many devotees, of which I am one, and I am happy to discover that many of you, our dear readers, are too.

For over a decade, my friend and local importer, Peter Schultz of Moorhead, has been bringing this incredible olive oil to the Fargo-Moorhead region and beyond. Peter’s passion for this project is contagious and driven by more than just the opportunity to offer people a high-end olive oil at an affordable price.

While the fair price is attractive, it is Peter’s connection to the people and the land involved in producing the oil that makes this sale so successful. The Ladopoulos family has owned the land and olive trees for generations, and the olives are hand-picked and cold-pressed from an ancient olive grove right on the farm estate located on Mt. Taygetos near Sparta, Greece.

Eugene Ladopoulos with an olive ready to be harvested from an ancient olive tree on his multi-generational olive farm near Sparta, Greece. Photo by Morgan Schleif
Eugene Ladopoulos with an olive ready to be harvested from an ancient olive tree on his multi-generational olive farm near Sparta, Greece. Photo by Morgan Schleif

Peter first met his friend and mentor, Eugene Ladopoulos, in 1997 when he was pursuing his PhD at the University of Athens, Greece, and you can find more on this marvelous story at Peter’s website. It is a story I never seem to get enough of, and what I appreciate the most is the lasting and authentic connection between the farmer, the land, the importer and the consumer.

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This is more than a business arrangement – this is a commitment to quality, tradition, friendship and community that is rare to find in any product these days.

The 16th annual sale season is opening tomorrow, July 15, and will remain open for orders through August 31. According to Peter, the earlier timeline means that they will be able to guarantee delivery before Thanksgiving this year.

The olives for this unique Greek olive oil are hand-picked from trees that are over 700 years old and then cold-pressed on the Ladopoulos farm estate. Photo by Morgan Schleif
The olives for this unique Greek olive oil are hand-picked from trees that are over 700 years old and then cold-pressed on the Ladopoulos farm estate. Photo by Morgan Schleif

The oil is sold by the case, with twelve bottles per case, and all orders are processed online. The oil for this sale is bottled to order, which means that it will remain in the settling vats until ready to bottle, and each number is individually numbered and marked with the harvest year. Talk about fresh!

I am delighted to report that the success of last year’s sale has enabled Peter and his team to add seven new pick-up spots for this year’s order, and they have even expanded beyond our region with spots in Austin, Texas, and Chicago.

In North Dakota, you can now order for pick-up in Bismarck, Grand Forks, Fargo-Moorhead and Richland County, and in Minnesota pick-up spots will now include Detroit Lakes and Duluth, in addition to Moorhead and the Twin Cities. I am thrilled by the response that Peter has received from you, our readers, and thank you for helping to ensure that this amazing oil will be available to us for years to come.

Growth like this does not come without gratitude. A portion of the proceeds from this year’s sale will benefit the Fargo-Moorhead chapter of the Jeremiah Program, whose dynamic mission is “to transform single-mother families from poverty to prosperity, two generations at a time.” This gift further exemplifies Peter’s and Mr. Ladopoulos’s commitment to community, all the way from Greece right into our own backyard.

I will be online to place my order tomorrow with bells on, and I look forward to another great year of food and fun with Mistra Estates Extra Virgin Olive Oil. To place your order, or to find more information, please visit Peter online at https://www.peterschultzimporter.com/

You can find more information on the Jeremiah Program here: https://jeremiahprogram.org/

The olives are hand-harvested, then cold pressed and placed into settlement vats. The bottles are filled by order to ensure that the oil is as fresh as possible. Photo by Morgan Schleif
The olives are hand-harvested, then cold pressed and placed into settlement vats. The bottles are filled by order to ensure that the oil is as fresh as possible. Photo by Morgan Schleif

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“Home with the Lost Italian” is a weekly column written by Sarah Nasello featuring recipes by her husband, Tony Nasello. The couple owned Sarello’s in Moorhead and lives in Fargo with their son, Giovanni. Readers can reach them at sarahnasello@gmail.com.