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It’s long been known that what Americans think of as olive oil is hardly the same liquid gold that Italians know and love. In fact, in 2012 a study conducted by the University of California found that nearly 70 percent of the extra virgin olive oil sold in the U.S. was not pure and some were even rancid.
Michele Iadarola, the founder of “Especially Puglia” wants to educate our taste buds one olive tree at a time. Iadarola may call New York City home these days, but every fall he takes a small group—usually around six people— to accompany him on a farm stay tour of the region.
Starting in Bari, the group heads to the Lucera area where they will bed down at a Masseria (a local organic farm) set at the foot of the Dauni Mountains. “We taste local wines and have a typical Pugliese meal at a nearby castle,” Iadarola explains. “We visit the olive groves, and the guests can participate in the harvest if they want to do that. We stay at two different Masseria’s that are surrounded by olive groves.”