THERE’S OLIVE OIL, and then there’s olive oil. Della Terra Oils sells the latter, due in great part to its origins — the small-batch oils are crafted and manufactured in California, but inspired by Northern Italy. Founder Judi Ratto (pictured right) grew up visiting her Italian family, cultivating an appreciation for authentic food made with seasonal, local ingredients. After Ratto met partner Jean Lozano (pictured left), a shared love of good food led to travel in Tuscany, where they spent time with Ratto’s family and began to learn the basics of making olive oil: crush, rack and blend fruit to create a grassy, fruity and/or peppery product — and Della Terra Oils was born. The collection includes uniquely flavored versions plus a Cask 25 Aged Balsamic vinegar direct from Italy.
PHILOSOPHY If you’re looking for a mission statement, it’s all in the name — Della Terra translates to “of the earth” in Italian. “The olives are sourced in small batches from select trees in Corning, California (the olive capital of the country), and from my family’s orchard in Orland,” Ratto says. “All of the olives are organically grown and harvested at just the right time each year to get the perfect flavor and color profile.” THE SCOOP Della Terra products can be found at Rustic Bakery, Mill Valley Market, Woodlands Market and Andronico’s in San Anselmo, as well as online. The balsamic vinegar starts at $35; the oils range from $13 to $16. A Gourmet Gift Set is available for around $45. BEYOND MARIN While the oils are crafted and manufactured in California, the cask-aged balsamic is straight from Modena, Italy. Ratto and Lozano traveled all around the region before settling on this particular vinegar, boasting Madeira and port undertones, which they recommend drizzling over ice cream, strawberries, grilled peaches, avocados and salads. WHAT THEY SAY “We’ve traveled the world over tasting oils and balsamic and have brought the best quality and selection home to Marin,” Ratto says. “We want our products to look beautiful sitting on the counter and enhance every meal — buon appetito.” dellaterraoils.com