“It was such an elegantly simple process,” said Piccirillo.
Titled Athena’s Gift as a tribute to the oil’s ancient roots, Piccirillo and her husband spent two years scouring for the perfect property at which to establish their olive orchard before settling on a ranch in Gustine. The six acre property came complete with water and walnut trees which Piccirillo slowly pulled out to replace with her olive orchard. Fast forward several years later and Athena’s Gift is available at several local markets where Piccirillo can be found not only selling the oil but educating consumers about the differences between the store bought fluid and the real stuff : California grown cold pressed extra virgin olive oil.
“Olive oil is such an alien thing. So many people think of it as a boutique item. At first it was really hard to get people to think of olive oil as a usable item,” said Piccirillo.
A tough sell in a place where consumers are used to pulling out a several dollars for a week’s worth of kale, Piccirillo mere presence at the market has drawn inquisitive customers to her stand to sample the different oil varieties — many leaving with a bottle in hand.Local olive oil producer offers pure product,