Steve Jenkins on Olive Oil Hysteria: Why Fairway Market EVOO Is Fresh, High Quality, and Always Trustworthy

Steve Jenkins wrote this open letter in response to Nicholas Blechman’s infographic article for the New York Times. If you care about olive oil, which we know you do, you will be interested!

Mr Blechman,

Your “Extra Virgin Suicide” graphic essay is highly misleading. 

While you do start the first image with “much of the oil sold as Italian..” the impression your graphic article leaves upon the reader is clearly that 69% of all olive oil sold in the US is doctored! That is ridiculous and unsubstantiated by any entity. You and Mueller are doing these farmers and millers a monumental disservice when you lump all olive oil producers together like that.

Your graphic comes down like a hammer with a guilty verdict on Mediterranean olive oil.  Rather than educate the public on reading labels and choosing oils you are creating doubt as to whether they should buy Mediterranean olive oil at all.

I have personally had this conversation at length with Tom Mueller who seems to me to be an earnest person.  He has allowed that I am justified at being annoyed at him for failing to point out that there are bottom-feeders in the supermarket and specialty food industry whose practice is to stock the cheapest of anything, certainly olive oil, not to mention that these bottom-feeders know next to nothing about olive oil.  The cheapest olive oil is the domain of these supermarkets and their vendors.

He has further allowed that he barely mentioned those of us whose devotion to and knowledge of olive oil is unsurpassed, and that our selections offer only the superb oils that abound contrary to the message sent by his book and your graphic essay.

My 150 different olive oils, overwhelmingly Mediterranean in origin, that I import and retail for my Fairway Markets here in the tri-state area, are among the finest, purest, most trustworthy foodstuffs I have dealt with in my 39-year career.  Most have been tested at a bonded independent laboratory, a frequent and ongoing practice that is both expensive and time-consuming.

My wonderful extra-virgin olive oils have been sourced by me myself from groves owned and operated by multigenerational families to whom fraud and cheating is something that simply never would occur.

Steven Jenkins

New York City

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