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
Oct 24, 2014
Ottawa police officers, with Parliament Hill in the background, guard the area around the National War Memorial in downtown Ottawa on Thursday. (Reuters/Landov)

Gunfire in Canada’s capital. Billionaire millions hit the midterms. Huge airbag recall. Ben Bradlee is dead. Our weekly news roundtable goes behind the headlines.

Oct 24, 2014
Andrew (Miles Teller) and his often demanding conductor, Terrence (J.K. Simmons) in a scene from the new film, "Whiplash." (Courtesy Sony Pictures Classics)

The new movie “Whiplash”. The thin line between obsession and abuse on the road to greatness. In music, the arts…sports.

RECENT
SHOWS
Oct 24, 2014
Andrew (Miles Teller) and his often demanding conductor, Terrence (J.K. Simmons) in a scene from the new film, "Whiplash." (Courtesy Sony Pictures Classics)

The new movie “Whiplash”. The thin line between obsession and abuse on the road to greatness. In music, the arts…sports.

 
Oct 24, 2014
Ottawa police officers, with Parliament Hill in the background, guard the area around the National War Memorial in downtown Ottawa on Thursday. (Reuters/Landov)

Gunfire in Canada’s capital. Billionaire millions hit the midterms. Huge airbag recall. Ben Bradlee is dead. Our weekly news roundtable goes behind the headlines.

On Point Blog
On Point Blog
The Explicast, Episode Two: Why Is Election Day On A Tuesday?
Friday, Oct 24, 2014

The Explicast is back for another round. This time, we’re looking at Election Day, and why we all keep voting on a random Tuesday in early November.

More »
Comment
 
Our Week In The Web: October 24, 2014
Friday, Oct 24, 2014

On comments, comment sections, and ROY G BIV.

More »
Comment
 
Introducing The Explicast: A New Podcast From On Point Radio
Friday, Oct 17, 2014

Confused about the news? Don’t worry: so are we sometimes! Introducing a new On Point Radio podcast: The Explicast. You can find Episode One right here.

More »
3 Comments