August 2020: Nerd conclaves

Greetings from Fat Gold!

It’s still summer, but harvest is on the horizon. Things are relatively quiet here at Fat Gold HQ, but we know from experience that they will soon accelerate. Olives, mills, stainless steel tanks… a big-ass truck. With each of Fat Gold’s three harvests, we’ve roughly doubled the amount of oil we produced, and it’s looking like that will be true again this fall.

From the beginning, we’ve called ourselves a “micro-scale” producer…

We might now be graduating into “small.”

In July, we extended an invitation to Fat Gold subscribers to join us for a live Zoom video session with Kathryn, a comprehensive introduction to olive oil production. This was our first time doing anything like this, so we limited registration to just 30 people. Well, it turned out to be an absolute blast: Kathryn held forth for an hour, pulling the curtain back on the entire process of making olive oil, and then our subscribers flung a fusillade of nerdy questions at her. After another half hour, I said, “Kathryn will keep taking questions, but if you’ve had your fill, you can feel free to log off,” and… no one logged off. It was glorious.

The live stream setup

It shouldn’t have taken us this long to realize that direct access to Kathryn—her experience & expertise—should be a benefit of a Fat Gold subscription! Because this chat was such a success, we’ll now be doing them quarterly, roughly in sync with our shipments. So, there you have it: a fresh incentive to subscribe, if you haven’t already.

A few more summer developments:

The Fat Gold Shop has its virtual doors flung wide! After introducing this in our last Field Report back in April, we are still shipping out orders nearly every day, which honestly has been a surprise—the best kind.

Our Blue Label oil is all gone (until we make a fresh batch in the fall) but we still have plenty of our Gold Label. If you’re considering a subscription for yourself or someone else, this is a good way to sample the kind of oil we make.

And… both of these oils recently won some fancy awards!

The live stream setup

Both our Gold Label and Blue Label won gold medals at Olive Japan. Entering these competitions can be expensive, so we’re very selective, but we have a crackpot scheme to get Fat Gold distributed in Japan, and winning Japanese competitions is part of that scheme. We’re doing it!!

Both oils also won silver medals at the Los Angeles Olive Oil Competition. In addition, our packaging won three gold medals: for innovation, for color and typography, and for “market segment.” (That means you, I think?) Not too bad for a design we did ourselves. This LA event is probably the most competitive in the U.S., so these awards mean a lot.

Finally, the arbequina oil we sent to subscribers last December won a Good Food Award! For us, this is THE award, because the selection process looks at both the quality of the product and the sustainability of its production.

Kathryn has, in previous years, served as a judge for the Good Food Awards, and both Kathryn and Robin have attended the awards ceremony in San Francisco, where you get to sample finalists in all the categories: beer, charcuterie, cheese, chocolate, cider, coffee… the list goes on and on. This makes the Good Food Awards feel like a big, bustling community of artisanal producers, rather than just another conclave of olive oil nerds. (Of course, we love nerd conclaves, too.)

Basically, it’s this award, more than any other, that matches Fat Gold’s values, so we’re very proud to have won.

That concludes this Field Report. Our next shipment to subscribers goes out in September—there’s still time to get on board—and then we’ll turn immediately to the harvest. Expect another Field Report about that in October or November.

–Robin and Kathryn

P.S. We sent these drink recipes to the subscribers who registered for our Zoom chat, and people seemed to, ahem, enjoy them, so we thought we’d send them out to everyone. Make one of these and join us in toasting some award-winning oils!

Tasty drink, level 1: The Fat Gold Martini

2 oz dry gin
1 oz dry vermouth
1/2 tsp Fat Gold

Stir or shake with ice and serve. Garnish with a lemon peel or… an olive :)

Tasty drink, level 2: Olive oil washed gin or vodka

“Fat washing” booze is a thing. It’s basically infusing a spirit with the flavor of fat, such as olive oil! It also gives body to the spirit, so to speak. This recipe is for infusing a whole bottle, but you can scale your batches up or down: 1 oz oil to 150 ml spirit.

5 oz Fat Gold
750 ml dry gin or vodka

Mix it. Combine the spirit with Fat Gold in a mason jar with a tight lid and shake vigorously. Leave the jar at room temperature for 4 to 5 hours. The oil will float to the top.

Freeze it. Overnight, the oil will solidify at the top of the jar, but the alcohol below will not freeze. Remove the lid and break up the solid oil to get to the infused spirit, which you can then strain into a clean bottle or jar.

Use it! Try this new Fat Gold-infused spirit in your favorite cocktail recipe, or just mix it with soda or tonic. Kathryn loves olive oil washed vodka in a bloody mary.

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