Local Couple Helps Launch Olio Fresia, Bringing Cold-Pressed Olive Oil Straight From Italy
When Nadia Parker-Cunningham and her husband Wade returned home after a trip to sunny Italy, they brought back more than photos and memories. Spurred by eight cases of olive oil they had shipped, plus a developing friendship with an Italian family, the Center Grove residents became the first and only United States distributors of Olio Fresia Olive Oil. Launched this past May, the online company now makes it possible for people to enjoy this authentic Italian product.
The Cunninghams grew up in the same town in the Florida panhandle. After becoming adults, their lives took different paths. A Navy veteran, Wade settled in Center Grove 30 years ago. Nadia lived on the East Coast where she had a 19-year career in radio. Almost 10 years ago, the couple reconnected at a class reunion and Nadia moved to Center Grove.
The couple’s blended family includes their daughter Lauren, who currently lives in New York City, and Davis, who is a senior at Indiana State University. After graduating from Roncalli High School, Lauren had the desire to live abroad. After researching, she discovered that being an au pair – providing child care for room and board – would give her the opportunity to live in a foreign country.
“Lauren found a website that connects au pairs with families in Europe,” Nadia says. “Through the search and interview process, Lauren connected with the Fresia family and accepted the position. She flew to Imperia, Italy in the spring of 2019 and became part of the Fresia family. Marcella Roggero had been an au pair in America when she was Lauren’s age and loved her experience in the U.S. She and her husband Fabri, wanted their two daughters, Nina and Nora, to speak English and to learn from an American.
“When we visited Lauren, we had the opportunity to spend time with the Fresia family. We immediately hit it off and that’s when we tasted Olio Fresia Olive Oil for the first time. We couldn’t believe how fabulous this oil was. Fabri and Marcella always wanted to bring Olio Fresia to the US and had attempted it before, but it didn’t get off the ground. When they met us, they felt as if we were the right partners to make it happen.”
The Fresia Family has been making olive oil for more than 100 years. In 1918, Fabrizio (Fabri) Fresia’s enterprising great-grandfather, Nino, not only started producing and bottling the oil, but was also the delivery man. His hard work paid off when word of mouth spread the knowledge of his high-quality product. Today the tradition is carried on by Fabri and his brother.
“What makes this oil unique is that it’s made from the Taggiasca variety of olives found in Imperia,” Nadia says. “This cold-pressed oil is unlike any other that most people have had the chance to taste. Currently we sell two varieties: Rosabianca Extra Virgin Olive Oil and II Gagliardo, our spicy extra virgin olive oil.
“The Taggiasca olive tree has ancient origins that started in pre-Roman times. It took Benedictine Monks to perfect and teach farmers the way to cultivate the olives. The climate on the western coast of Italy was the perfect home for these trees and now 75% of the Taggiasca olives are produced in Imperia. The Taggiasca olives are the key to the unique taste of our Rosabianca Olive Oil. It is a perfect addition for a healthy diet.” Wade says.
When asked the best ways to use the oil, Nadia replies, “Sprinkle it with a little sea salt and fresh cracked pepper. Then dip chunks of warm, crusty Italian bread in it. It’s so good! It makes a fantastic vinaigrette for salads. Lauren’s favorite is to drizzle it over avocado toast. I also use it to make a caprese salad of sliced tomatoes, fresh mozzarella and basil. Chef Fabio, a chef in Imperia, created recipes just for Olio Fresia which can be found on our website.”
Currently, the unique olive oil is available for purchase online. The company’s website showcases the two varieties and explains the history of the company. They are also planning to expand to offer more products, pesto and olives. Olio Fresia US also maintains a Facebook and Instagram page.
“Initially, I created a quick post on Facebook and six cases sold in 15 minutes,” Nadia says. “That’s when we thought we had an opportunity to start a business. It’s a very rare and limited olive oil. We are really excited about bringing it to the States. We would also like to partner with local shops and restaurants and hope to one day even have our own store.”
For more information, visit OlioFresiaUS.com, @OlioFresiaUS on Instagram or view Olio Fresia US on Facebook.