By Lance Henderson
Local food columnist and author Mary Ellen Carter recently started Verde Specialty Foods, a home business bottling olive oil and making hand-blended spices.
Carter said she was recently at a Slow Food event in San Francisco where she encountered a captivating American olive oil.
“I had never seen California as a source of olive oil, but it has the best olive oil that I have ever tasted,” Carter said. “I think it’s because it is fresh and not being shipped in a tanker from Italy or Greece.”
Carter said the olive oil comes to her home “laboratory” in a 55-gallon drum and is then hand-bottled and labeled for freshness.
With the olives being grown and pressed on the West Coast, Carter’s olive oil is “as local as we can get,” which Carter feels suits her Bellingham clientele.
“People here are more aware of what is local and what has the lowest carbon footprint, so I thought it would be wonderful to bring this product to Bellingham,” Carter said.
Carter teaches cooking at Whatcom Community College and has been a food columnist for the Bellingham Herald. She has also authored four cookbooks, including At Joe’s Garden: Harvest Recipes from the Northwest and Accent on Asia: Recipes for a Culinary Adventure.
Carter’s olive oil and spices can be found at Old World Deli, Joe’s Garden, and Greenhouse in Bellingham and Gretchen’s Cook Shop at 501 1st St. in Mount Vernon.
For more information, call (360) 820-8448 or visit www.cookwithmaryellen.com.