Our Ship is Sailing
We never thought we’d see the day. For months we’ve been planning for it, attending to endless details along with big decisions. We’ve been exhilarated, anxious, exhausted and mostly optimistic. And now our newly filled, tapped and packed Pascarosa extra virgin olive oil tins sit on pallets at the olive mill awaiting transport to the port of Salerno on the Mediterranean sea near Naples. From Salerno, they’re bound for the kitchens and tables of the United States. It hardly seems possible.
Along with Orazio Sisto, our olive miller, his wife, Teresa, his teenage son, Alessandro, his brother, Nardino and nephew Vito, we worked from early in the morning until late that evening. The process involved filling each 500 ml tin using a dosing machine fed by a line from the fustini (stainless steel olive oil recipients). Next each tin was closed with a plastic tap, sealing the tin while providing a pouring spout once the tin is opened for use. Then we affixed an adhesive sticker on the bottom of each tin with the olive harvest date and the “best by” date to consume the olive oil. Once filled and stickered, each tin was placed with eleven others in Pascarosa boxes, then stacked on a sturdy export pallet to await wrapping for shipment. Oh, and we had to tape the all the boxes together first . . .
Throughout the day, friends, curious onlookers and other relatives dropped by the olive mill to observe, comment and join in. Since we’re in Italy, we stopped for lunch with Orazio’s family. Fusilli con zucchini (spiral-twisted semolina pasta), pollo ai peperoni (braised chicken with onions and red and yellow peppers), melanzane sott’oilo (preserved eggplant marinated in extra virgin olive oil), oranges, pears and apples, vino rosso and espresso. Teresa apologized for the poverty of the lunch because she was right alongside us working all day. I still don’t quite know how she managed the feast.
We packed the last tin around 8:30 p.m., then headed home to a bowl of minestrone con i ceci (vegetable soup with local chickpeas). We had scheduled a Skype conference with i ragazzi (the guys), the university students who are managing the technical back end of the Pascarosa website’s online shopping cart so we felt compelled to get on with it despite the long, emotional day that culminated in a such a major milestone. So after a virtual Skype hour deep into the exigencies of SSL protocol and subscription service billing, we staggered to bed.
It’s true what they say about entrepreneurial life. You really do think about your business all the time. Everything you see, everyone you meet and every conversation you have provides fodder for the creative process. Anytime is the right time to add shape to an impulse and flesh out an idea. The difference is that you want to do it; you are engaged, inspired and delighted by the possibility, And the results are a tangible representation of your dreams. It’s tough to beat the feeling.