You Have To Know Somebody To Buy This Award-Winning Olive Oil

By Cathie Anderson
The Sacramento Bee.

Ternero Olive Oil recently won best of division at the California State Fair for its robust extra-virgin picual, but you won’t find this oil for sale on any grocer’s shelves or even on the company’s website.

Felipe and Lisa Ternero of Granite Bay market their olive oil only through fundraisers: Teachers have paid for classroom supplies by selling it. Boys playing on travel baseball teams have financed trips to Cooperstown Dreams Park in New York.

Soroptimist clubs have used it to further their mission of improving the lives of girls and women locally and worldwide.

“I like the idea of saying, ‘The only way you can get it is through me or the fundraisers,” said Lisa Ternero, who left her job selling radio advertising a few years ago to focus full-time on developing this business concept.

Until then, Felipe Ternero had focused on selling the fruit from his orchard in bulk to either table olive companies or olive oil producers. That is still how Ternero Olive Oil makes most of its money, but Lisa Ternero’s fundraising operation has seen rapid growth.

The Terneros sold 300 cases in 2013, the year Lisa introduced the idea. The next year, that figure doubled. This year, the Terneros sold a little more than 1,000 cases. Each case holds 12 bottles.

The business idea came to Lisa Ternero when she was approached by an athletic teen neighbor selling cookie dough for a high-school track fundraiser. That product, Ternero said, wasn’t what she or her family should be eating if they wanted to be as fit as the young woman selling it.

She gave a donation, declined the dough and got to thinking: What if Ternero Olive Oil bottled its olio nuovo, or new oil, and sold it to fundraising groups? This liquid gold has been proven to be packed with cancer-fighting polyphenols and heart-loving monounsaturated fats.

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