Meet Sarah and Robin, in 2021 they both quit their jobs in Bristol to pack their lives into a campervan and drive to an olive grove on the Greek island of Ithaca. Robin had spent several years on the island as a child, and decided to return 20 years later with his wife Sarah.

What brought them to Ithaca was a plot of family land that had been abandoned for over a decade. This plot has some beautiful old olive trees on it, and a sweeping view down to the Ionian Sea. The trees needed some love to coax them back into production, and in time they’ve rewarded with delicious extra virgin olive oil. The harvest began in early October, with the grove producing mainly the “Thiako” variety of olive oil. They hand pick these early to preserve and protect the brilliant antioxidants that give the oil its Ithacan bite. 
This olive oil is a truly artisan product. Every olive is picked by hand then cold-pressed in an organic certified mill.​​ Their harvest season started this year in early October. The grove has mainly the local “Thiako” variety of olive which is naturally high in polyphenol antioxidants, so they like to preserve this by picking early and by hand. They then make sure to have the olives pressed with cold extraction methods to protect the brilliant antioxidants that give the oil its Ithacan bite. 

All of Aetos's practices are organic and they are in the process of acquiring their organic certification. A shift in focus from agriculture to tourism on the island over the last 50 years has meant that a large percentage of the olive trees in the groves are no longer harvested, but they want to be part of an emerging movement to reignite the olive farming on the island. Ithaca’s history and culture is so intertwined with these brilliant carbon sinking trees, and with extra virgin olive oil being shown time and time again to be so beneficial to health, the future is promising.

What's your favourite dish to make using Aetos Ithaki Olive Oil?
A tricky question for us as we use our olive oil in/ on/ near/ around nearly everything we eat! We drizzle it over pastas, salads, grilled fish, just about anything on toast. But glugging it on? We are talking a zesty tzatziki, silky salsa verde, crisp focaccia or a juicy imam byaldi. Sometimes though there’s nothing much better than a good tomato dripping in EVOO with a pinch of salt. YUM. 

What's the secret to making great olive oil?
We are a small producer making artisanal extra virgin olive oil. We hand pick all of our olives. This is time consuming, but it means minimal damage to the trees and the juicy little olives before they get to the press. And, this means locking in the most antioxidants possible for an insane flavour and undeniable health benefits. This island is full of 90 year olds! 

If you didn't produce olive oil, what would be your dream job?
Prior to this we were a Theatre manager (Robin) and an NHS dentist (Sarah) so we’ve already had a career 180, and… we reckon it can get much better than this 

What's your favourite restaurant in your hometown and why?
When we are back in Bristol we love a visit to the  Bristol Lido with its divine seasonal Mediterranean menu set in a grade 2 listed outdoor pool. It’s the kind of eating that we love and  It’s like being on holiday. In, say, Greece. 

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