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Meet the Producer: Greg Hinson

Co-founder and President of O Olive Oil
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Living abroad has a way of changing people’s lives. It did for Greg and Marta Hinson, co-owners of O Olive Oil, who returned to California after a year living in Italy with the idea of being the first to introduce American consumers to the citrus-crushed olive oil they fell in love with during their stay. With the introduction of O Meyer Lemon Olive Oil in 1995, the couple created an entirely new olive oil category that is now flush with competitors—and soon after became the only company in the U.S. to craft premium barrel-aged vinegars. All the way, they’ve remained pioneers by sticking to their goals of making the best-quality products in California, traveling the world to source the finest olive oils and selling it all in packaging that looks as good as the products taste. It’s no surprise O Olive Oil's products are treasured staples in home and professional kitchens around the world.

Here, Hinson shares his most recent culinary adventure, his favorite O Olive Oil product and his culinary idol.

What’s your favorite product in your line?

It's hard to pick a favorite child, but I would have to say O Meyer Lemon Olive Oil. I use it in and on everything: marinades, dressings, drizzled over steamed vegetables or pasta. Or with a good crusty bread for dipping. I can't get enough of it. When we are crushing, this is the one oil I have to keep tasting for no reason at all.

Who is your culinary idol?

We tend to love those that love our children. So in a crowded field of favorites, I would have to choose Chris Cosentino of Incanto here in San Francisco and winner of “Masters Top Chef” this year. He loved us early on and has stayed with us. He’s a supremely creative chef and a man with a big heart.

What’s your guilty food pleasure?

This week, it's between simple smoked Pacific Northwest salmon and bagels, and sea salt caramels.

What has been the most interesting culinary experience you’ve had recently?

Portland [Oregon]! All of it.

Aside from your products, what three items can you always find in your kitchen?

Large jars of capers, smoked pimenton and plenty of Meyer lemons from the tree in our backyard.

If you weren’t making artisanal oils and vinegars, what would you like to be doing instead?

Long-distance swimming in Hawaii. Or windsurfing. Well, at least until I damage my rotator cuff doing just that.


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