In August the New Yorker had a terrific article about the widespread trade in bunko olive oil, which gave me a newfound respect for the Cretan stuff I've been buying lately at Andy's Fruit Ranch. Terra Creta Extra Virgin isn't going to make you fly, but it's OK for everyday use. It is fun to play with. By plugging your bottle's five-digit lot number into the company's Web site you can get all kinds of specific information about the particular oil you're dressing your salad with, starting with a satellite photo of the grove it came from in Crete's northwestern Kolymvari region. You can check the temperature during extraction -- 06011 didn't top 27.3 degrees centigrade when it was pressed exactly one year ago next Thursday. You can also check the results of lab testing. Mine has .3 percent acidity (the EU's maximum limit is .8 percent) and pesticide residue of .01 parts per million. Arsenic? Zip, thank you.
The import of all of this isn't exactly clear -- it was bottled last January, but am I supposed to feel good that it was sold to a client in Germany, and capped in Italy in September before it made its way here?