As Massimo was growing up in the Tuscan town of Scarlino and Marcello in the village of Vinci, never was there a day that delicious EVOO didn't pour over their pinzimonio and pasta at lunch. Never an evening when it didn't scent the main meal.
The two met well into their careers as leaders of olive-growing co-ops dedicated to the preservation of traditional, small-scale cultivation and the outstanding milling and balancing of the flavors that come from the olive fruit. They shared a deep commitment.
Then, in 2004, they took a trip to the United States together.
Americans make lots of Italian food, so neither worried about finding something delicious to eat. Seasoned enough to know good from bad and wise enough to be stubborn in their ways, they set out for a true Italian meal.
But they wandered from restaurant to restaurant without any luck. The few establishments that kept EVOO on hand were serving old, tired and flavorless stuff. No one could tell them where the mysterious liquids hailed from.
Marcello refused to eat his vegetables. Massimo wouldn't even touch a piece of bread.
So they went to a grocery store and saw a plethora of products euphemistically labeled "Pure" and "Light" — the type of oils unsuitable as seasoning and lacking heart-healthy nutrition. What EVOO they saw, the pals snapped up to satisfy their craving. But back in their hotel room it turned out that each bottle was, alas, far past its due.
Lamenting the lack of flavor, the two pals went hungry and got a little grumpy and then they figured out what they really needed to do.
Today the OL.MA and Montalbano cooperatives that Marcello and Massimo serve have over 1,000 members, whose time-honored practices are protecting the environment of rural Italy. Their collaboration brings EVOO to store shelves fresh-from-harvest and has led to an unprecedented industry-changing traceability program that connects people to the origin of their EVOO with an app called Rootie. With Bellucci-fresh flavor and detailed trace-to-source information, Marcello and Massimo are helping bring authentic EVOO to hearts, plates and palates everywhere!
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