Holding ourselves to a higher standard in blending the best of traditional Mediterranean culture with modern American technology, we are introducing to the United States the Lebanese mother olive tree.
(Excerpt from Olive Grove Partner’s mission statement)
A few years ago, Farid Rebeiz, a businessman established in the United States, developed an interest in the olive oil industry of Lebanon, his mother country. His interest turned into true passion after meeting Ms. Nayla Moawad, previous Lebanese minister and President of the René Moawad Foundation. His motivation: Actively helping the Lebanese olive oil industry, while turning the centuries-old Lebanese culinary tradition and culture into a successful business – by importing it to the US markets. Through his company, Olive Grove Partners, Rebeiz decided in 2005 to open the huge US market to Lebanese olive oil by developing, promoting and marketing it as a healthy and tasty food condiment. Olive Grove Partners focused on an olive oil production based on the highest standards of quality.
Olives and the Golden State
After a first experience in Texas, Olive Grove Partners decided that California is the perfect place to cultivate olives in the USA. One question remained: Would the American consumer appreciate Lebanese olive oil?
This question was answered by well-know consultants and olive oil experts. After tasting numerous samples, their verdict was that Lebanese oil would indeed suit American palates. Olive Grove Partners teamed up with leading Californian nursery, Novavine, and world-class expert Paul Vossen.
The olive culture in Lebanon: a centuries-old tradition
Evidence of olive culture in Lebanon can be traced to 2800 B.C when the early inhabitants of Lebanon, known as the Phoenicians, traded olive oil and wine with other neighbouring civilizations. According to the Lebanese Ministry of Agriculture, the main Lebanese olive varieties – which, according to recent theories, could be the descendants of the very first cultivated olive trees in the world – are the Souri (From the Southern coastal city of Sour, Tyre) or Baladi, and the unique Ayrouni. The olive is not only a very present and refined element of the Mediterranean cuisine; increasingly, other countries all over the world have turned to olive oil because it is very healthy and tasty. The USA especially represents a potentially huge market, importing today more than 10% of olive oil around the world. Therefore, the Lebanese olive oil, reputed for its quality and rich taste, possesses all the ingredients to become a successful export abroad if based on quality and respect of high standards of manufacturing and transparency.
Working with the best
Today, Olive Grove Partners is working simultaneously with the Lebanese non-governmental organization arcenciel, public organisms such as the Agricultural Research Institute of Lebanon, as well as small growers such as Mr Nasseem Maalouf, two-time winner of the Olive Oil Competition held by the biggest agricultural expo in Lebanon, Horeca. Olive Grove Partners will enter the Los Angeles International Extra Virgin Olive Oil Competition every year and intends on winning gold medals for the Lebanese varieties.