Ralo Olive Oils


ralo extra virgin olive oil


Hello again,

Let me pretend to be the first to tell you that hitting "Save" every few minutes while you are editing a very long document gives a false sense of security.  Of all the wise sayings now reverberating in my brain, "back up earlier versions frequently" is loudest.

I think you all know where this is going.

The travelogue narrative was complete. I had just begun inserting the accompanying photographs when the cyber gods struck using that nifty Apple trackpad and a little-known feature called "inadvertent highlighting of all content below what is visible on the screen so that it is unknowingly erased when you make a minor correction and then smugly hit 'Save', close the application and take a break".

I discovered it shortly after I realized that there was nothing wrong with the scrolling feature.  Everything beyond one screen's worth of content was lost. And I couldn't get it back.  The horror, the horror... I doubt even the designers knew of this capability.  

Consequently, this newsletter will be much shorter than it was and than we are all accustomed to.  

Now that there is no risk of contradiction I can claim that it was the most interesting and amusing newsletter ever. As time permits I will rewrite it.

The good news is the new harvest oils are here and can be pre-ordered.  

PRE-ORDER DEADLINE: on or before this Friday, May 10th, 2013  

You have only a few days, until this Friday, to place your pre-order.  To get the discount on 5L tin orders you must meet the May 10th cut-off date.

RETURN TO MARKET: Saturday, May 11th 

Our first day at Market will be this coming Saturday.

We are in our usual location outside the main building that houses the meat vendors.  We are underneath the overhang, across from the Van Dijk Fish trailer.

Please note that at Market we will have 5L tins of all new oils but 500ml bottles of Argolid only.  Bottles of the other growers' oils must be ordered in advance and a pickup date arranged. We will then bring your order to Market.  We will have tasting samples of all fresh oils.

Again, if you want to skip right to the Pre-order instructions, scroll further down this page.

LIFE IN GREECE, circa December 2012 - Part I: ATHENS


Since the devastating financial crisis I am often asked:  "How are things in Greece?" or "How are people doing?" or "What really happened and what's going on over there?"

These are simple questions, but their answers not so.  

It seems awkward and futile to make general declarations as to how 12 million people are doing when at most I see thousands and yet speak to less than one hundred, in under 3 weeks and in a fraction of the geographical space of the country.  As to political and economic events, who is well-enough informed and in possession of the necessary facts, training, education, intelligence, perception, insight and experience to make a definitive statement that really matters? 

We don't know.

But since you asked, here's an opinion anyway...

(This brings to mind a common experience when asking for directions in Athens. Invariably with a careful nod and great self-assurance the native prescribes a detailed set of instructions punctuated with pointing gestures and tractor-beam eye contact throughout:"Keep walking the way you're heading, straight ahead.  When I say 'straight ahead', I mean do not turn either left or right.  You'll pass that big church on your right hand side and a bit further on, that large apartment building on the left.  Keep going for about 1,200 metres. You will come to a big intersection with a small kiosk on the corner.  Ask someone there, they'll direct you the rest of the way".

In hindsight it is evident that most people one asks for directions really have no clue either as to your destination or as to how to get there, or both.  Nevertheless, they answer out of a genuine desire to help and to discharge timeless obligations of hospitality. [TRANSLATION: "I have no idea.  But I can tell from your hopeful expression that you're a ripe one.  So, bear with me as I make things up as I go along so you can think me helpful, and yourself helped.  When you're 1 km from where we are standing now you'll be no less lost and the next person you ask may actually know where you're going.  By then I'll be long gone".)

It is fair to say that there are obvious changes.  But consider that what is seen and perceived may, in many cases and to varying degrees, tell us more about the observer than the observed.   We see what we expect to see.  And now, a play-by-play narrative:

"The morning started at the hotel with a boiled egg, dried olives, dry bread rusks and tea for breakfast.  It was a beautiful sunny day.  First a walk to the Akropolis, roaming around taking photos. 
Then a visit to the magnificent Akropolis museum.  It was just me, my new camera and busloads of Asian tourists with the latest in photographic equipment that none of us could use in the museum.  Talk about torture.

Then a walk around the base of the Akropolis to the Thisseion and through the Sunday flea market in Monastiraki 

In other years the area all around the base of the Akropolis would teem with a river of humanity strolling about no matter what day of the week it was.  In these previous few days most streets have been deserted, even in the Plaka where storekeepers had to resort to either closing early or standing in front of their shops watching passersby.  Many shops are empty. Only the printer of "For Rent" signs seems to be doing a brisk business.

What one does see is lots of beggars and homeless persons in the streets.  This is new, and tragic.  One frail, skeletal old man in worn shoes and with his remaining dignity tucked into the wrinkles of his at-one-time-Sunday-best suit jacket was picking through a pile of garbage outside a closed church of great historical and architectural interest...
Things are really difficult for the ordinary person. Unemployment is widespread and its presence or fears of its arrival are etched deeply on pensive faces.  It's like they were standing around a banquet table when someone abruptly tore away the rug and the floor from beneath their feet.  

On this Sunday morning the people of Athens had decided they would have their stroll in the city centre.  The outdoor cafés and restaurants were full.   It was an uplifting sight.  


In the crowds there is a smaller section of the population that is confident, smartly dressed and going about their routine as if nothing is amiss.  There are always those who are either lucky or know how to play the game to sidestep a crisis, perhaps even to profit from it.

Pre-crisis, a warm sense of community and shared fate were so commonplace in Athens and throughout Greece as to be trite and even cliché.  No longer so.  And yet, here and there basic humanity rises above the ominous fog like a dandelion, slowly and persistently pushing aside the layers of packed asphalt seeking fresh air and sunlight to achieve blossom:   

An elderly man is trying to climb a high curb giving him obvious trouble. 
A middle-aged stranger offers a hand.   "Here grandpa, take my arm.  Where you are now, I will be someday".  

"Thank you, my boy.  Bless you.  May you be well, and live many years.  And may our donkey-bred, bastard politicians get what they deserve in the meantime'"...

Such tenacity flows in the veins of a culture that has faced far worse adversity and survived, time and again through the millenia. If this tenacity spoke in words, this is what one might hear:  We will endure this too.  With time, even this will pass.  Until then, we will suffer.  Suffering too, is experience, and part of life.

THIS YEAR'S TRIP: The Weather 


As was the case last year, this year's trip extended from late November to just before Christmas.

The weather was the reverse of what it was in 2011. This year it rained almost every day for at least part of the day for the first ten days.  Then the second half of the trip was mostly sunny, warm and dry with temperatures reaching as high as 18-20 C. 

This worked out well since I was able to visit with all of our growers and finish up business early enough to make a trip north that I have been planning but unable to take for over a decade.

....[The narrative beyond this point was lost in cyberspace.  What appear now are the bare necessities to enable you to place your pre-orders]...



You have a choice of 3 New Harvest oils from which to pre-order:


All of the oils are fruitier and stronger in flavour than they were at this point last year.  With time they will soften and mellow.

PRE-ORDER PRICES - 5 Litre Tins:

  • $110/tin: 1-3 tins
  • $100/tin: 4+ tins


You may place orders for our remaining products at the time you pre-order 5L tins of our fresh oil:

  • $25 per 500ml Bottle of Oil
  • $15 per 500ml Bottle of Balsamic Vinegar
  • $25 per 1kg tin of the Professor's Kalamata Olives
  • $40 per "Jug" of Gigantic Olives
  • $5 per Bar of Soap (White or Brown), or $4 per Bar for 5+Bars


We are thrilled to tell you that we also have a very limited supply of fresh oil that was pressed from olives harvested exclusively from a selection of trees in the Ionian grower's grove that we estimate to be between 2,000-4,000 years old.  This is an idea the Ionian grower and I have had for almost a decade.  It's amazing to consider that these massive trees have been productive continuously since the time of King Nestor of Pylos who was mentioned in Homer's Illiad.   

  • $30 per 500ml bottle
  • $150 per 5L Tin (we reserve the right to limit quantities).

Here's what those ancient trees look like:




2013 PRE-ORDER PROCEDURE (Deadline Friday, May 10, 2013):

  1. On or before May 10th, 2013 email us with your full name, contact information and order details AND mail the cheque (payable to "ralo inc") to: "ralo inc.", 700 Avondale Avenue, Kitchener, Ontario N2M 2W5 OR send us an email INTERAC payment to info@myolivetrees.com.  We will accept all envelopes postmarked and all email Interac transfers initiated on or before May 10th, 2013.
  2. (If you would like your pre-order shipped to you, please indicate this when you place your order.  We will let you know the amount to add for shipping and the total amount of your order). 
  3. Keep your email address and other contact information current with us.
  4. Read your email messages and follow up with us by email from time to time.
  5. Tell us by email in advance when you plan to come to the St. Jacobs Market to pick up your order (if for pick up), or send us an email for any special shipping requests or arrangements.

Thank you again for your continued support

We look forward to seeing you at the Market.

Robert and Deborah

ralo extra virgin olive oil



Call Deborah at: 519-574-1335 or email at deborah@myolivetrees.com

Call Robert at: 519-580-0189 or email at robert@myolivetrees.com

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