Merico Maria Rosa’s family first produced olive oil in 1700. Today, her daughter Marta cultivates a grove over 500 years old (many of the trees are protected by UNESCO), where the olives are hand picked and pressed within eight hours of the harvest. It may sound a little over the top, but I swear a farm with this kind of history—especially one where the children are still very passionate about making an oil with great flavor—creates a different kind of food. It's very in touch with its surroundings and the terroir of its area.
Marta's farm's 200-year tradition sits on top of a Puglian history, one that has evidence of olive cultivation from 5,000 years ago. With a loaf of Paesano close at hand—Zingerman's version of the traditional bread of Puglia—and perhaps a bit of wild chicory and a deep dish of Piana degli Ulivi at the ready, you’ll have everything you need to pretend you're enjoying an afternoon in the south of Italy.