October 2014 Newsletter

Steve’s Gourmet Olives
Delicious Wine-Marinated Olives

Locally owned & operated
Delicious artisanal olives made locally
Spice up a recipe or dress up a cocktail
 Great for entertaining, snacking and gifting
 Sold at “ABC Fine Wines” and gourmet food &
 fine wine stores throughout central Florida

Issue1 Volume1     

Greetings and welcome to the first newsletter from “Steve’s Gourmet Olives”!

We are a Tampa-based small business specializing in wine-marinated olives owned and operated my husband, Steve, and myself. We have been building the business over the past 3 years and we are thrilled to have finally launched a company website, www.stevesgourmetolives.com, and a monthly newsletter. We want to say a heartfelt “Thank You!” to all our friends and family for helping us get our business up and running. It has been a labor of love over the last few years and it simply wouldn’t have been possible without your encouragement. We intend to send out a monthly newsletter to update you on our list of retail locations, local tasting events and other special events we want you know about. Each month we’ll also offer you a new recipe featuring our olives.

Let’s begin with a little history. Steve is the cook in the family, thank goodness, and that is why his name is on the label. He is blessed with the ability to go into the kitchen with no recipe and no plan, and emerge an hour or so later with a masterpiece. He has been marinating olives for his own recipes for over 10 years now. They were never spicy enough for his palate. He started cold marinating in the refrigerator at first with various ingredients. He has tweaked the recipe over the years, experimenting with different types of peppers, herbs and wines. When we married in 2009 and I moved into his house, half the refrigerator was filled with olives. Out of necessity, he began heat pasteurizing them to make them shelf-stable, get them out of the fridge, and give us some space. They are unique and delicious olives, definitely not your ordinary grocery store olives tasting of salt and little else.

We start with olives imported from Greece and Italy that we purchase in large quantities. We pour off the salt water brine and add fresh garlic & peppers, secret herbs & spices, and then the delicious bold red zinfandel wine. Our olives are produced in small batches by the two of us, each jar hand packed and individually spiced to create amazing flavor. Then we heat seal each jar in a large pressure cooker, like your grandmother used to use to make her jams and jellies, which makes them shelf stable for many months. These olives are perfect for entertaining, snacking or gifting, and there’s no need to feel guilty. The salt has been replaced with wine, and everyone knows the benefits of the Mediterranean diet.

We currently have 6 wine-marinated flavors that can be used in many ways. Whether it is spicing up a recipe or dressing up a cocktail, these are truly amazing olives. And olives remain a central part of our diet. We eat olives every day, in virtually every meal, and we both love heat. A match made in heaven! There is a reason I waited 39 years to get married. I am truly blessed.

Before we started our olive business, we often gave jars of olives away to friends and clients as unique gifts. I was working as a pharmaceutical sales representative at the time, and many of my clients were from India and Korea, where spicy food rules. They gave us exotic peppers to experiment with and lots of encouragement. When we finally decided to turn our passion into a business, we incorporated as Moon Bay Consulting in October of 2011, and named our business after my mother (part Cherokee Indian) whose maiden name was Moon. 

 Next we needed an endless supply of good wine to take our business to the next level. In the fall of 2011, I visited the “ABC Fine Wines” in Carrollwood and asked Glenn Witherbee, the wine consultant, for advice on bold red wines for our olive recipe. He sent me home with several wines to experiment with. When I returned later with a jar of our olives as a gift, he suggested we become vendors at their wine tasting events, and he said we could sell our olives directly to the public at these events. So began our business and our relationship with “ABC Fine Wines”.

For your information, local ABC stores sponsor regular wine and beer tastings for customers, and our first event was the holiday wine tasting in December 2011 at the ABC in Carrollwood. At that time Steve and I were both working our full-time careers. Steve is an engineer at Mac Dill Air Force Base, and I was in pharmaceutical sales. These Thursday evening events fit well into both our busy schedules. For the next two years we worked all of the Tampa area ABC events that our schedules would allow. The local ABC Regional Manager, Gus Chinchilla, was amazingly supportive of us from the beginning, introducing us to other managers and leading us to expansion opportunities. With our love of wine, our eventual plans to retire to California wine country closer to the grandkids, Steve’s perfected recipe, and encouragement from so many people, our long-term business plan began to take shape.

I transitioned out of pharmaceutical sales in January 2014 to focus full time on our business. On February 1st we were on the shelves at our first retail location, Casa Jimenez, a unique Spanish wine and tapas market in west Tampa. Many thanks to our good friends Drs. Nannette Diaz and Edgard Janer for introducing us to the Jimenez family! Immediately, Gus Chinchilla of ABC offered to carry our olives in several of his stores in Tampa. As sales picked up, so did the offers from other ABC locations in Central Florida. That’s when we formed Steve’s Gourmet Olives as a division under the Moon Bay Corporation. Since then, and with continued support from Gus Chinchilla, Heather Marquis, Dave Paxton and Bill Jackson at ABC, our business has blossomed. We are currently in 15 ABC locations in Central Florida, plus 3 other gourmet food stores.

We continue to promote our olives primarily through tasting events hosted at our retail locations. Check out the list of upcoming events under the Events Tab, there are lots of fun things happening in the next few weeks! We love these events because we get to meet new people, introduce them to our olives, and share recipe ideas. This month's recipe is Pesto Pasta Salad. Go to the Recipe Tab and you can print the recipe from there. We also have a Facebook page called “Steve’s Gourmet Olives” where we post events and share photos and recipes. So make sure to “Like” us and “Share” us with all your friends. And now we finally have our website, which is just in time for the holiday season. It is the perfect place to promote and sell the new line of gift items I have created to complement our olives. The website carries our new custom-made bar towels, table runners, coasters, wine cork key chains, wine glass charms, and beaded forks in fun themes. So keep checking our website, as new events and items are posted regularly. It has been an exciting and fun time, and we look forward to growing and expanding in the near future. Thanks again for all of your support and we hope to see you at an event soon.


Susan Dodd, M.B.A.
Steve’s Gourmet Olives