90.9 WBUR - Boston's NPR news station
Top Stories:
PLEDGE NOW
The World Of Olive Oil

“Extra virginity.” We’ll look at the sublime and scandalous world of olive oil.

A farmer pours olives from a bucket she picked before sorting out the leaves during the harvest, Monday, Sept. 27, 2010. A staple of many farmers around the world, olives are often used to make olive oil.  (AP)

A farmer pours olives from a bucket she picked before sorting out the leaves during the harvest, Monday, Sept. 27, 2010. A staple of many farmers around the world, olives are often used to make olive oil. (AP)

From ancient days, olive oil was the oil of the gods.  Of the sacred.  Bathe in it.  Anoint with it.  Burn it in praise.  Today, olive oil is the paragon of health foods.  The golden foundation of the Mediterranean diet.

But do you know what you’re buying when you buy olive oil? My guest today says the market is swimming in scandal.  Musty, grubby, rancid olive oil “deodorized” and passed off as extra virgin.  Italian flags slapped on oil from all over.  Health benefits promised and lost in fraud.

This hour, On Point:  Extra virginity.  The sublime and scandalous world of olive oil.

-Tom Ashbrook

Guests

Tom Mueller, writes for The New Yorker and other publications. He lives in a medieval stone farmhouse surrounded by olive groves in the Ligurian countryside outside of Genoa, Italy. He’s the author of the new book Extra Virginity: The Sublime and Scandalous World of Olive Oil.

Demeter “Mimi” Kotsonis, Greek-American resident of Athens. Her family owns a grove of 300 olive trees in the village of Skourochori near ancient Olympia.

View map in a larger map

From Tom’s Reading List

Olive Oil Times “Lately the olive oil industry has been struggling with a wrenching crisis brought on by mass-market price wars and a flood of low quality olive oil — a lot of it falsely labelled extra virgin.”

Photos

Please follow our community rules when engaging in comment discussion on this site.
ONPOINT
TODAY
Nov 27, 2014
On Point host Tom Ashbrook raises a toast with a glass of fresh apple cider in the On Point studios. (Jesse Costa / WBUR)

All about hard cider. It’s all over these days. And sweet, fresh apple cider, too. We’ll look at the history and comeback.

Nov 27, 2014
Bob Dylan and Victor Maymudes at "The Castle" in LA before the 1965 world tour. Lisa Law/The Archive Agency)

A new take on the life and music of Bob Dylan, from way inside the Dylan story. “Another Side of Bob Dylan.”

RECENT
SHOWS
Nov 26, 2014
A 1597 map of Lesbos / Mytilene, Greece by Giacomo Franco. (Flickr / Creative Commons)

How Aristotle invented science. The great ancient Greek, and life on Earth.

 
Nov 26, 2014
Getting together with your family and loved ones at Thanksgiving and the holidays doesn't have to lead to  arguments and fights. (Meg Hunt / Flickr)

The Thanksgiving get-together and all the family drama trimmings. Sage advice from advice columnists.

On Point Blog
On Point Blog
Last-Minute Thanksgiving Luxury
Tuesday, Nov 25, 2014

Our three Thanksgiving chefs offer up their best bets for delicious, last-minute holiday helpers, including a crunchy celery salad and maple glazed carrots.

More »
Comment
 
Calling All Interns, Calling All Interns
Monday, Nov 24, 2014

Have you ever thought about interning with On Point Radio? Good news: your time is now!

More »
Comment
 
The Explicast, Episode Six: What Does A White House Press Correspondent Do?
Friday, Nov 21, 2014

We turn to White House Press Correspondents all the time for news, but we’ve never really wondered how they gather their information. Fortunately, our guest host Jessica Yellin had time to sit down with The Explicast to explain.

More »
1 Comment