GUILFORD — Fresh olive oil. It not only makes food taste better, it also reduces cholesterol and blood pressure, and has strong anti-inflammatory properties. Lucky for us, there are rows of golden-hued olive oils on our supermarket shelves, with picturesque labels declaring them extra virgin.
Don’t be fooled, according to Peter Giannopoulos, whose Papa Spyros Olive Oil will be displayed among the wares of the 34 artisans at the Dudley Farm Museum Open House and Holiday Market on Saturday, Dec. 7 and Sunday, Dec. 8, as well as Saturday, Dec. 14.
Each November, Giannopoulos and his family travel to the property owned by his great grandfather in Makrisia, a village in western Greece near ancient Olympia. For three days, they pick olives from the 200 trees that range from 10 to 80 years old.
To hear Market Master Martha Haeseler tell it, Papa Spyros Olive Oil is of a piece with the items to be exhibited on both floors of the historic Munger barn, including Liz and Rick Rinaldo’s soothing goat milk soap from their own goats on East Hampton’s Flat Brook Farm and hats knitted from yarn that Carol Gilbert spins from the resident alpacas at her family’s Double “G” Alpaca Farm in Portland.
“The products of our vendors relate to what comes from the earth, what they grow and the animals they tend,” she said.
The olive oil produced from the three days of labor in Greece “has a grassy, earthy flavor, with a hint of citrus, and a peppery finish,” said Giannopoulos, whose family owns Nick’s Place in Madison and The Brushmill by the Waterfall in Chester.
Because olive oil isn’t regulated by the FDA, Papa Spyros, named for Giannopoulos’ grandfather, bears little resemblance to the extra virgin olive oil available in supermarkets.
In fact, according to journalist Tom Mueller, “70 percent of the extra virgin olive oil sold is adulterated.” That means “it’s no longer fresh, it doesn’t taste good, and it doesn’t deliver the health benefits consumers expect,” as food-navigatorusa.com reported in November.
No wonder, then, that when Giannopoulos decided to sell his olive oil out of his family’s restaurants, “people liked it so much that my wife Anna and I came up with the idea of selling it at farmer’s markets.”
For other homegrown fare, Barbara Hammarlund will be offering naturally raised meat, sausage, and eggs from Half Mile Acres farm in North Guilford. There’s also Buster Scranton’s famed maple syrup, maple nuts and maple candy. And traditional cinnamon and cardamom breads, cinnamon rolls, and platters of holiday cookies from Hometown Bakery’s Rob and Lisa Ostop.
Adding to the merriment will be the lively strains of the Dudley Farm String Band.
Of course, if there’s anything that typifies the authenticity of the holiday market, it’s Papa Spyros Olive Oil.
“Most people tell us they had no idea how real olive oil should taste,” he said, adding that he and Anna will be offering olive oil hand cream as well. “They say it’s like nothing they’ve tasted before.”
The Dudley Farm Museum Open House and Holiday Market will take place on Saturday, Dec. 7, 9 a.m. – 2 p.m.; Sunday, Dec. 8, 11 a.m. – 3 p.m.; and Saturday, Dec. 14, 9 a.m. – 2 p.m. at 2351 Durham Road (Route 77), Guilford. To order Papa Spyros Olive Oil online, visit www.papaspyrosoliveoil.com.