Business owners attend Olive Oil Summit

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AUBURN — Terry and Lori Berndt, owners of The Olive Twist Inc., attended the second annual International Olive Oil Summit July 27-28 in Oakland, Calif.

The educational summit featured speeches and seminars by olive oil experts from around the world and was attended by hundreds of olive oil retailers.

On the first day of the summit, the Berndts had lunch with journalist Tom Mueller, author of the book, “Extra Virginity: The Sublime and Scandalous World of Olive Oil,” and shared in the day’s full slate of activities. On the second day, they attended an olive oil sensory-tasting school taught by representatives of the Organizzazione Nazionale Assaggiiatori Olio di Oliva, one of the most-respected olive oil schools in the world. The ONAOO assisted the Berndts with the steps for properly tasting and grading olive oil and provided instructions on how to distinguish a quality olive oil and separate out one that is rancid, musty, muddy, or in any other way defective.

“Most people think rancid oil is what good olive oil is supposed to taste like. But it is the mission of The Olive Twist to educate and share quality olive oil with our friends, family and customers,” said Lori Berndt. “Rancid or bad olive oil in our diets is playing a large role in some of today’s health issues. Conversely, there are many health benefits from using quality extra-virgin olive oil in our diets.”

Berndt said EVOO should be used within one year of its crush date—because as a fruit juice, olive oil can quickly become rancid, especially if it is not stored properly. To maintain its healthy attributes and prevent rancidity, Berndt recommends storing olive oil out of sunlight, away from heat and sealed with a cork. Detailed storage instructions are available at both retail locations of The Olive Twist, at 6410 W. Jefferson Blvd., Suite 7A, Fort Wayne, and 115 N. Main St., Auburn.

To educate local consumers on the benefits and uses of extra-virgin olive oil, The Olive Twist soon will be scheduling more of its in-house Olive Oil 101 classes, Berndt said. In addition, she will be teaching Olive Oil 101 on Nov. 5 in partnership with the Indiana University-Purdue University Fort Wayne Division of Continuing Studies.

Berndt is a client of the Northeast Indiana Small Business Development Center, which assisted her in starting her new business in 2010.

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