The story of OLIVE OIL GROVE starts way back, to 1983 when Heather and I met at the age of twelve. On our first outing together (not sure we can call it a date at that age), and accompanied by two of Heather's six-foot-something tall brothers, we sat on a blanket and watched the sparkling sky on July 4, 1983. The explosions above, and within, were the beginning of a love story and partnership that continues today, 37+ years later.

Lucas and Heather then and now
From school yearbook to home portrait.

For twenty years, our family has owned and operated a small olive grove in southern Spain, called Los Duendes Grove. My brother, Dave (aka Grove Masta Dave), manages the few hundred olive trees. We could sell this wonderful olive oil in the US, at a much greater profit margin, but honestly, we would then NOT be selling absolutely the best olive oil from Spain. Oil from Los Duendes is very good, and our family has been making oil for decades, but not centuries. The enjoyment we get from the trees, the land, and the production process is priceless!

Hudson and Ana at Los Duendes Grove
Our two children: Hudson and Ana at Los Duendes Grove in Spain

My authentic self - by Lucas

I was born and raised in Spain, and immigrated to the U.S. at the early age of seven. Some of my first foods included extra virgin olive oil, with access to fresh and delicious olive oil at every turn.

Many people in the U.S. know that extra virgin olive oil is healthy, but very few people know that almost all olive oils available in the U.S. are neither fresh nor authentic.
Like many businesses, the idea for OLIVE OIL GROVE came from trying to solve a personal problem of wanting fresh olive oil.
With every trip to Spain (almost yearly), I would take back a gallon of olive oil from Los Duendes grove. Since it couldn’t be carried on, I would risk all my luggage by sticking it in my suitcase.

Traveling back a gallon of extra virgin olive oil

I wrapped it in numerous layers of garbage bags, each tightly bound by duct tape. Never had a problem, other than, never having enough once I got home.

Sometimes, my love for olive oil clashed with the American way of life. This was obvious once I left home and went to college, where I would bypass the hamburger and hotdogs and dart straight for the salad bar. The problem was, I wouldn’t settle for the thick creamy dressings and canola oil that they provided. Coating the salad with those dressings seemed like I was painting the vegetables and obscuring how they were meant to taste. Instead, I brought my own olive oil. Every day, I carried in a little bottle of olive oil so that I would enjoy the salad to the fullest. Clearly, I valued the health and taste of my salad over how I looked bringing in my own little bottle to the college cafeteria. I was passionate about what I ate, and passionate about good olive oil.

A completely unrelated passion of mine that realized later in life, was human flight with a sheet of fabric overhead: paragliding. Overcoming my fear of heights was not something I had ever planned to do, and my disastrous climb to our home’s roof to adjust the chimney top in 2013 proved that I was no braver than a small cat stuck up on a tree.

Lucas paragliding
Lucas (yellow wing) paragliding at sunset

Soon after that incident, I began to find my true self: I decided to take the journey to learn to paraglide, with tremendous curiosity and never anticipating that I would someday actually fly. Now, almost a decade later, I’ve flown off mountain tops in many parts of the world, have flown alongside eagles, into clouds, and now I understand why birds sing. My previous self was afraid of heights when there was no reward. My authentic self has a different value system, and understands that the reward from being free and present with birds thousands of feet above the ground and with the proper equipment and training, is worth the risk.

Find your authentic self, then don’t let go.

My journey to health - by Heather

In my early twenties, my mantra was that every day should be a party. I was carrying around extra weight and a lot of bad habits, including smoking. I didn’t exercise and ate whatever I wanted. Gratefully one day I didn’t feel well and had an epiphany: I realized the quality of my life and my health was in my hands and that I had the power to feel better in my own skin. It was like a switch went off. I started to take control of my life and health by eating better and exercising. I lost 30 pounds and quit smoking over the course of 6 months.

I changed every aspect of my life and the healthy empowered feeling that I had after this journey to health compelled me to want to share this gift with others. I went back to school in my late twenties to attain a degree in health and wellness. Eventually working to help people get healthier through national programs, health coaching, meditation training, and corporate wellness.

My passion for helping people didn’t stop with myself and my health career. Lucas and our children are my main target to provide every opportunity to lead the healthiest life possible. I keep things simple in the kitchen by purchasing good quality whole foods. Our olive oil is a perfect example of a simple and delicious kitchen staple that easily enhances the taste of anything you drizzle it on and boosts health. It is my firm belief if you have whole foods in the house, you will eat healthy, period. I am very proud that my two children, now teens, didn’t know about fast food until much later in life and have enjoyed eating healthy foods since they were babies, including brussel sprouts! The big secret to eating healthy is to have the healthy simple whole food options available.

I keep exercise simple as well, leading by example, I move everyday. My favorite activity is heading out for my daily walk. Walking outdoors and a daily morning meditation sets the tone for the day allowing me to show up for myself first and live a more present life.

Today, I still think everyday should be a party too but in a different way. I believe if we aren’t mindful of what we put in our bodies and how we move everyday we can’t possibly enjoy the celebration.

Eat well, keep moving and be mindful.

From both of us, thank you for visiting us and sharing a moment of your time getting to know us better. We hope our passion shows in everything we do. This passion led us to create OLIVE OIL GROVE, and from grove to table® is our way of bringing that passion to you.

Heather and Lucas signature

Co-founders, OLIVE OIL GROVE

New Hill, North Carolina