A random vacation stop at the Boston Olive Oil Company was enough to turn a pair of intrigued patrons into enthusiastic owners of an oil and vinegar store of their own. That is what happened to Stephanie and Joshua Harmon, founders of the Bumble Olive Oil Company, which recently opened at the Westfield Franklin Park Mall.
“We immediately fell in love with sampling so many olive oils and balsamic vinegars” Stephanie says. “So much so we decided we wanted to create a business that not only would allow customers to have that opportunity, but would promote healthy and versatile products.”
From flowers to food
Bumble began in 2008 as a gift shop in Sylvania, Ohio with a focus on selling flowers. “Flowers always reminded me of bees and pollination, hence the name” says Stephanie. The couple considered merging the two ideas, but decided to focus on oils while retaining the name.
Quality is number one to the Harmons. Utilizing the correct technique of ‘crushing’, Bumble promotes the various health benefits that are often extracted by commercial in their chemical treatment of olives.
“Commercial brands add heat to drain the remaining juice from the pressed olive, which eliminates many of the healthy nutrients and antioxidants that are maintained in our oil.” Stephanie says. “Our olives are cold pressed once at their peak and stored at temperatures no higher than 67 degrees. A really good olive oil should have a crisp, peppery and mild to robust taste because it’s full of those nutrients.”
Bumble stresses its olives be pressed at their peak while fresh. It’s emphasized so much they even included a requirement in their contracts with their international growers (from Tunisia, Australia and Italy amongst others) that the fruit be shipped no more than four hours after picking — commercial producers often leave the fruit in carts overnight — guaranteeing a ripe harvest for rich oils.
Importing the goods
Bumble’s balsamic vinegars are imported from Modena, Italy and shipments come in from Veronica Foods, “people who are freakishly passionate about oils and vinegars,” Stephanie says. Veronica was the first stand-alone oil and vinegar store in the U.S., and its founder and owner Michael Bradley is considered an expert in the field, a “genius when it comes to oils” says Stephanie.
Whether you’re heating the pan for a three course meal, looking to dress a fruit salad or adding a light drizzle to bread, Bumble offers more than four dozen flavors of olive oil and balsamic vinegars to fill the need. Even further, they exhibit over 60 pairing options for sampling — from the fan favorite combination of blood orange olive oil and cranberry pear balsamic vinegar to the fulfilling, breakfast-themed, butter-flavored olive oil and maple syrup balsamic.
The Harmons believe in giving the customers free range to sample everything appetizing. This, coupled with a hands-on staff, Stephanie hopes, will educate the customer for their next trip to the market.
“People should come away with an awareness of what to look for in a bottle, like its color or if preservatives are used. We stress looking for a harvesting date and to avoid olive oils with an expiration date. We even give instructions on how to store the oil once you take it home. We truly want our customers to be completely satisfied and as excited about these products as we are.”
Bumble’s oils and vinegars range from $9.95 for a 200 ml bottle to $29.95 for a 750 ml bottle. Bumble Olive Oil, Westfield Franklin Park Mall (across from Sunglass Hut), 5001 Monroe St. 419-517-5552.