Made In The U.S.A.

Olive oil. And poop. But separate.

In Adventures on February 3, 2009 at 9:54 pm

I’m watching my favorite show (of the non-fiction variety). It is called Dirty Jobs, and it is brilliant. A guy, Mike Rowe, works various tough jobs for a day and broadcasts the results. Frequently the show revolves around poop or animals or animal poop. Sometimes it’s just dirty. Sometimes dangerous. Sometimes all of the above.

Tonight Mr. Rowe is farming Olives in California at the Queen Creek Olive Mill. This is good news because I spent a good ten minutes reading olive oil jars the other day. All of the good ones (i.e. fancy and/or expensive and/or boutique oils) were proudly imported from Spain. I couldn’t find any American-made olive oils, save for one brand that certainly appeared to be manufactured here of imported olives. I dodged the issue by buying American-grown and –pressed walnut oil. It’s a little bland, though, so it doesn’t really replace a good olive oil. It is ‘Merican, though.

But thanks to Dirty Jobs, I now know it’s possible to buy American-made olive oil. Not only can I visit the Queen Creek Olive Mill online, I can choose from several American olive oils via the handy resource at the North American Olive Oil Association.

I have to digress here for a moment. Discovering the NAOOA web site makes me realize something: although it’s indisputable that over the last several decades a large quantity of manufacturing jobs have been outsourced overseas, a certain amount of jobs have been brought here by globalization. It must work both ways to a degree, right? I can’t imagine that there were too many olive growers in the U.S. 50 years ago. More important, though, is the fact that although it’s harder to find a variety of American-made options for a variety of products, it’s easier to find the needles in the haystacks of MITUSA-ness these days thanks to the powerful interconnectedness of Western society. The Internet and satellite TV just combined to inform me that in fact, improbable as it may be, not only are olives grown and pressed in the U.S. of A, but I can go online and order me some right now. So, in some ways, it’s easier than ever to buy American. /digression

At the NAOOA web site I learned about the labeling requirements for olive oil, including specific requirements regarding country of origin:

When an extra virgin olive oil imported from one country contains extra virgin oils from several countries, then each of those countries must be listed on the label in the country of origin declaration. It is also permissible to list the country from which the product was imported, but not without listing the country or countries where the extra virgin olive oils were produced. A country of origin declaration could appear as follows:

Imported from __________
Contains extra virgin olive oils from __________
__________, __________ and __________; or
Packed in __________
Product of __________, __________,
__________ and __________

This tells me that, among other things, it should be pretty easy to figure out where my olive oil comes from. Most of the fancy ones show the country (often Italy or Spain) on the front of the label. If not, flip ‘em around and start reading. It would appear that in terms of olive oil, no news is good news. If no country is mentioned, it’s Made In The USA.

Now the hard part: finding an American-made olive oil at a plain old grocery store. I am not one to make 10 stops to buy the 10 items I’m after.

Mike Rowe is done making olive oil. He’s on to picking up dirty diapers for the Tidee Didee diaper delivery company.

See? Poop.



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