When Greenwood couple Nadia and Wade Cunningham visited their daughter, Lauren, who was then working as an au pair in Imperia, Italy, they had no idea of the connections they would make.
Lauren found herself working for the Fresia family, who had more than 100 years of experience in olive oil production. As a stop on their European tour, Nadia and Wade met with Lauren and the Fresias in Imperia. There, they fell in love with the family, the town and the food they served at their table — especially the olive oil.
“There’s just something about the flavor,” Wade says. “It transports me to Italy.”
The couple returned to Indiana and kept in touch with their new Italian friends.
Some three months later, the Fresias approached the Cunninghams with a proposition: They wanted an American distributor, and they wanted the Cunninghams to be that distributor.
“We were definitely intrigued,” Nadia says. “We thought sure, you know, let’s do it.” The Fresias had the FDA approval and paperwork in place. After several discussions, the Cunninghams set up a limited liability corporation and a website for their new business.
The thick, rich oil made of 100% Taggiasca-variety olives, was met with enthusiasm. Of course, COVID-19 put the brakes on selling, but Nadia says, “Everyone that I know was sitting at home cooking more than they ever have before.” Facebook marketing and word-of-mouth ensured the Cunninghams speedily moved their product along. Now, with such a positive reception stateside, they look forward to expanding, getting Olio Fresia in front of more people, and perhaps even opening a brick-and-mortar store. Information: oliofresiaus.com.
— By Jenny Elig