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 21, 2014
President Barack Obama announces executive actions on immigration during a nationally televised address from the White House in Washington, Thursday, Nov. 20, 2014.  (AP)

The president throws down the gauntlet on immigration. Bloodshed and new tensions in Israel. Keystone fails. Our weekly news roundtable goes behind the headlines.

Nov 21, 2014
Laura Ingalls Wilder, an American  writer and novelist, at age 27. Her "Little House" series is a beloved semi-autobiographical take on her childhood in the Western American plains. (South Dakota State Historical Society )

A big new look at the legacy of Laura Ingalls Wilder and the woman behind the Little House.

RECENT
SHOWS
Nov 21, 2014
Laura Ingalls Wilder, an American  writer and novelist, at age 27. Her "Little House" series is a beloved semi-autobiographical take on her childhood in the Western American plains. (South Dakota State Historical Society )

A big new look at the legacy of Laura Ingalls Wilder and the woman behind the Little House.

 
Nov 21, 2014
President Barack Obama announces executive actions on immigration during a nationally televised address from the White House in Washington, Thursday, Nov. 20, 2014.  (AP)

The president throws down the gauntlet on immigration. Bloodshed and new tensions in Israel. Keystone fails. Our weekly news roundtable goes behind the headlines.

On Point Blog
On Point Blog
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 »
Comment
 
Our Week In The Web: November 21, 2014
Friday, Nov 21, 2014

We offer a panel of hand-drawn digital sheep, and wonder how to best lead the rest of you to programs that matter.

More »
2 Comments
 
The Explicast, Episode Five: What Is Net Neutrality?
Friday, Nov 14, 2014

The Explicast dives into tech policy territory with a quick look at the real meaning of a complicated bit of tech policy known as ‘Net Neutrality.’

More »
2 Comments