Tuesday, December 5, 2017

Olive Oil featured on Amherst College Home Page

See a new rendition of an old story about the First Year Seminar Course "Liquid Gold" that is currently being featured on the Amherst College Home Page.

This "marquee" feature points to the following article, archived from May 2017

Friday, November 10, 2017

Fall UPDATE: Reminiscences of Past Harvests, Present and Future Plans

It's hard for me to believe that three years ago, we were exploring Mediterranean Olive Harvest sites in Turkey, Italy, Catalonia, and Crete.  It feels like yesterday.  Those experiences and the great joy we found in talking with growers and producers were the fuel for our book, The Chemical Story of Olive Oil: From Grove to Table, that has now been out for 8 months.

2014 Harvest In Tuscany

2014 Harvest in Crete

2014 Harvest in Catalonia

Since that time, we have given dozens of talks, been interviewed on the radio, taught a total of five college classes on three campuses, and have taught several week long summer workshops.  Plans are in place to offer courses in Olive Oil Chemistry to retailers in the Finger Lake Area.  Two of us were certified as having completed an olive oil tasting course at UC Davis and one of us is on her way to being a member of an Olive Oil Tasting Panel in Turkey.

Making Olive Oil Soap - Amherst College

Leading Tastings near Izmir Turkey

Inaugural Zeytin Okulu (Olive Oil School) near Izmir, Turkey
 We have become advocates and spokespersons for olive oil's health benefits and it isn't unusual to get email from former audience members who tell us that we have transformed them into olive oil junkies!

In the lab, close to a half dozen students have worked on or are working on ways to measure the age of the oil, the free fatty acid content (a marker of quality), and the polyphenols so important for the health benefits.

What's next?  One of us is working on a translation of the book into Turkish (ZDN), one of us has become a Food Fellow of the Kahn Institute (POH) and another is working on a revision of Chapter 10 of the book to include Climate Change Effects on Olive Oil Production (RAB).


Tuesday, September 26, 2017

Olive Oil and the Liberal Arts

I just love Amherst College's blending of academics and athletics.  I just received this invite from an Amherst College Student of Mine.  How many universes exist in which a soccer team plans to honor a science author at halftime?  ANSWER:  1 - Go Mammoths!

Dear Professor O'Hara,

While reading about some of the recent accomplishments of our faculty and students, your name came up alongside your book, The Chemical Story of Olive Oil: From Grove to Table.

Congratulations on the great work! Amherst LEADS is looking to bring attention to the brilliant things that members of the Amherst community are doing and would like to show you some appreciation at halftime during one of our home games this fall.  We would like to invite you to the men's soccer game against Rutgers-Newark this Sunday. The game begins at 2 pm but the brief halftime ceremony should be a little after 2:45.  

If this sounds like something you would be interested in, please let us know if you are available this weekend.  If not, perhaps we can find another time to recognize your accomplishments.  

I hope to hear from you soon.


Stuart McKenzie

Monday, July 31, 2017

Read Reviews of "The Chemical Story of Olive Oil"

  • Our first review on Amazon from an unknown fan gave us five stars!!!!
  • Here's a lovely email note we recently received from Margaret Edwards, owner of Matiatia Olive Grove and Press  and Internationally Certified Taster we met in New Zealand.
    Dear Pat and Richard

    At last we have finished our harvest and clean up so I have had the chance to dip into your excellent book and am thoroughly enjoying it.

    I am sure it will be an excellent addition to every olive grower and miller’s library.  I shall certainly be recommending it as a publication that presents the essential information in a way that is easy to read and to understand.  Thank you very much for including John and me – we were very flattered to have an “honourable mention.”

    This season was difficult, as we have had the wettest year to date that I can remember.  It has also been cooler than usual.  Our volume was down around one tonne on last year but many of our clients had very light crops and some no olives at all.  The fruit was slow to ripen but in spite of that and the weather, we have managed to make some reasonable oils.

    John and I have very fond memories of your visit to Waiheke and hope that you are both well and enjoying life.
    Congratulations on the book.

    Best regards


Friday, July 28, 2017

Zeytin Okulu 2017 - Inicek, Turkey

All facilitators, students, directors and staff at Zeytin Okulu
The fruits of the original Ege’de Atölye (Aegean Workshop), which was set up in 2010 continue to be harvested.  One of the most exciting landmarks has been the construction of the Zeytin Okülü (Olive School) in Iniçek, Turkey along the Karaburun peninsula south of Izmir, and this, it's inaugural summer.  Our workshop there boasted a few dozen students, facilitators, and an assembly of sponsors, townspeople, and pension managers who all made things happen.

3 Wise women: Derya, Meltem, and Zeynep

Robert College Faculty and Students

Rich runs a tasting

World Olive Press on Valley Free Radio

On July 7th, Pat and Rich were interviewed by Stacey Cooney on her Friday night radio show "Evidence Based Errata."  We talked mostly about our book "The Chemical Story of Olive Oil: from Grove to Table."   The hour passed quickly and before we knew it, we were done and had had a great time.  You can listen to our interview here: https://evidencebasederrata.com/2017/07/09/evidence-based-7717-the-chemical-story-of-olive-oil-from-grove-to-table/

And, as a favor to our friend Stacey, let's plug her show.  From the radio station's website: Listen to the live broadcast, every Friday at 6pm – only on Valley Free Radio, WXOJ-LP 103.3fm or streaming on valleyfreeradio.org