The Olive Tree Establishes Roots in Huntington Village

IMG_4571Since opening in July, The Olive Tree has become the go-to place for an extensive selection of imported natural and organic extra virgin olive oils and balsamic vinegars. Located in the heart of Huntington Village at 307 Main Street (631.683.4880), the shop also offers a wide variety of organic and gourmet seasonings and food items, as well as a line of beauty products made with 100% virgin olive oil. Any of these items can be incorporated into an attractive custom gift basket for any occasion. Customers are invited to stop by for a free tasting from among the more than 50 specialty and infused olive oils and balsamic vinegars. The shop is open Monday through Thursday, 10AM-6PM, Friday and Saturday, 10AM-10PM, and Sunday, 10AM-6PM, with extended hours for the holiday season.

The Olive Tree is a family business owned and managed by George and his wife, Mary, along with their son, Michael, who organizes the special events and demonstrations. George grew up in an entrepreneurial family that owned a retail food business. He helped his father in the family store and later owned two delicatessens of his own. So, opening a specialty food shop came naturally for him.

According to George, choosing Huntington Village as the location for the shop was a no-brainer. “We liked the active downtown atmosphere, and the people who live and visit here seemed friendly and interesting.” Father and son renovated the empty storefront themselves, transforming it into a welcoming, bright and open space with a rustic contemporary European feel, the perfect home for the many fine olive oils and balsamic vinegars imported from Italy and Greece. “A visually appealing store, along with quality product and cleanliness, is the foundation for The Olive Tree’s success, ” George said.

Whether you’re knowledgeable about virgin olive oils and balsamic vinegars or just discovering them, there is much to appreciate about The Olive Tree’s offerings. Here you will find a wide variety of extra virgin, infused, and specialty olive oils, as well as infused balsamic vinegars, which, individually or in combination, are excellent for dipping, cooking, marinating, dressing salads, and even as unexpected ingredients in milkshakes and cocktails. Most are either natural or certified organic, and bottles are priced at $8.99 to $16.99.

Among the varieties of imported extra virgin olive oils are Spanish Hojiblanca, Chilean Leccino, Italian Umbria, and Greek Koroneiki. Each has a unique flavor, ranging from smooth and velvety with mild fruitiness (Chilean Leccino) to rich and full with a peppery finish (Greek Koroneiki). There is a substantial selection of infused extra virgin olive oils, including citrus (Blood Orange,Lemon, and Lime) and herb (Basil, Garlic, Rosemary, and Tuscan) flavors. My personal favorites are Blood Orange, which is smooth and sweet, and Tuscan Herb, which is a unique blend of basil, rosemary, marjoram, flat leaf parsley, sun-dried tomatoes, and garlic. Specialty oils include sesame, almond, and avocado.

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The Olive Tree’s menu of balsamic vinegars includes a large selection of infused varieties ranging from fruit flavors (Apricot, Mango, Pomegranate, and Mandarin Orange) to the more exotic, namely Almond Creme, Black Truffle, Espresso Bean, and Honey with Serrano Chile. Perfect for the season are the Cranberry Walnut, Pumpkin Spice Pie, Maple, and Green Apple varieties, the latter being especially popular. Pumpkin Spice Pie balsamic vinegar adds zing, whether drizzled on pancakes or winter squash, or used in a milkshake or a martini.

On my recent visit to The Olive Tree, I took the opportunity to indulge in tasting a number of paired varieties of olive oils and balsamic vinegars. When asked about the most highly recommended pairings, George told me that “recommended” combinations are based largely on personal taste and the purpose for which they are to be used. Mary is partial to pairing Red Apple balsamic vinegar with Italian Umbria olive oil over tossed salads made with apples, cranberries, and walnuts. I love oranges and chocolate, so George offered me a piece of Italian bread to dip into the blood orange infused olive oil followed by the chocolate balsamic vinegar (no dairy in the chocolate balsamic, by the way). It was even more delicious than I imagined. “Now,” he said, “imagine dipping a strawberry instead of a piece of bread!”

Shops specializing in healthful products, such as The Olive Tree, are a growing trend, and the health benefits of olive oil are not to be underestimated. An excellent source of vitamins (E and K) and minerals (iron, calcium, potassium, and sodium), it is used in cosmetics, medicine, soaps, and cooking. Studies show that people who regularly consume olive oil are much less likely to experience high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and stroke, and are at lower risk for developing blood clots. Those with Type 2 diabetes benefit from better insulin levels and blood sugar control. Olive oil is beneficial for skin and nails as well. Its natural characteristics provide a deep cleansing of the skin without causing irritation or clogging pores, and it can be used straight-up as an eye-makeup remover or for shaving. The Olive Tree carries a select line of beauty products made with 100% virgin olive oil–some infused with lavender or pumpkin– including skin and body cleansers, hand creams, and shampoos and conditioners.

Who among us doesn’t enjoy receiving a surprise basket full of healthful and delicious edibles or natural beauty products? They make great gifts, and The Olive Tree offers its own unique creations. There are a number of ready-made themed baskets, and if you can’t find exactly what you have in mind, you can have a basket designed to your liking. To make your basket truly special, George recommends bringing in a sentimental or other type of personally meaningful item, and it will be included. He and Mary are available to help with custom orders for special occasions and events, both large and small.

For a fun night out, check out the monthly special events at The Olive Tree. Huntington locals and visitors can bring their friends and family to join in a leisure activity, attend an educational seminar, or observe a food demonstration while sampling the shop’s flavorful olive oils and balsamic vinegars. Among recently held events was a Dip and Paint Nite, where guests painted a colorful autumn theme on a pair of wine glasses. Another recent program included a chef’s demonstration of the uses and pairings of olive oils and balsamic vinegars for cooking and preparing foods. An upcoming event features a seminar presented by financial advisors, followed by an informational talk about olive oils and balsamic vinegars (accompanied by a tasting, of course). Future events are in the planning stages.

 George rightfully prides himself on the variety and quality of the products he painstakingly selects, the baskets he and Mary thoughtfully design, and the special events that Michael organizes, but he told me that he is most proud of the high level of personalized service customers receive in their shop. Friendly and helpful, George is a good listener who clearly values his customers. “I want to make sure that our customers always walk out the door happy,” he said.

Whether you are looking for something for yourself, want to purchase a special gift for your Thanksgiving host or someone on your holiday list, or are just curious, you won’t be disappointed at The Olive Tree. Just make sure to allow yourself enough time to shop, because, with so many options, you may find it difficult to make up your mind. Don’t worry, though. Even if your schedule is jam-packed, and you don’t have a lot of time to browse, there are always gift certificates available. Products can be purchased at the shop, by phone, or on The Olive Tree website at www.olivetreelongisland.com.

 

 

 

Amazing Sales Kick Off At Ooh La La Huntington Boutique

image004-2Ooh la la Boutiques is kicking off the holiday season with these amazing sale events, starting off with a free gift with purchase in all Ooh la la locations on Black Friday. For Saturday, November 28, which is Small Business Saturday, any customer who uses their American Express will receive 10% off their purchase and a free gift. Lastly, on December 4 to celebrate our annual Pink Friday Sale, all stores are 15% off.

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Greater Huntington Civic Group Drops Appeal to Stop Avalon Bay Housing Development

Executive Board of Greater Huntington Civic Group shifts focus to alerting members to projects that are in the infancy stages.

Greater Huntington Civic Group President Steven Spucces announced today that the Group’s Executive Board has unanimously decided to no longer pursue the appeal that had been filed in the Appellate Division of the State Supreme Court. The appeal had been filed in a bid to overturn a judge’s November 19, 2012 decision to deny the merits of the Group’s original lawsuit. The suit was aimed at stopping Avalon Bay Communities, Inc. from developing a high-density housing complex south of the Huntington Rail Road Station.

Among the lawsuit’s assertions, the spot zoning approved by the Huntington Town Board to allow 14.5 units per acre far exceeds the density of the surrounding community, including any other multi-family dwellings. The property was originally zoned for 109 single-family homes.

“Dropping the lawsuit was not an easy decision to make,” said Steven Spucces, president of the Group. “Unfortunately, in spite of the project’s unprecedented density and flagrant SEQRA violations, which were outlined in our appeal, the Avalon Bay project continued to be built.” The State Environmental Quality Review Act (SEQRA) requires that an environmental impact review be completed to assess the impact of such rezoning on traffic, sewage, soil, open space preservation, and more. The review was never carried out before Town approval was given.

In spite of this legal setback, the Group was instrumental in stopping the Town Board’s approval of a Transit-Oriented District (TOD), which was originally proposed for the property. This effectively reduced the number of housing units from over 500 to 379.

“The Avalon Bay project has become a wake-up call for many residents of the Huntington community. As a result, it is incumbent upon us to stay vigilant in identifying proposed projects in their infancy, at a point when our membership can have truly meaningful input. That’s why our Executive Board has shifted the Group’s focus and resources to making sure we’re ahead of the curve when it comes to new proposals and alerting our membership to their potential scope and impact.”

“In fact, because of our front-and-center involvement in these issues,” Mr. Spucces continued, “developers now approach us to discuss their upcoming projects. We are committed to continuing that discourse and ‘being at the table’ when these land-use decisions are under consideration.”

 

Nominations for Klaber Award Wanted

Part of the Huntington Township Chamber of Commerce’s mission is to serve the business community in order to better the quality of life for its residents.  In an effort to acknowledge residents with similar goals, the Chamber is seeking nominations for its John Klaber Memorial Award. The John Klaber Memorial Award symbolizes devotion to the community. It is given to a citizen, at least 60 years of age, who has a record of distinguished and exceptional voluntary service to the community for 15 years or more and has held key leadership positions with diversified town-wide organizations.

A well known local architect, Mr. Klaber was born in 1884, moved to Huntington in 1945.  During his 26 years as a Town resident he was involved in countless community activities as Vice President of the Old Village Green and Vice President of the local chapter of the NAACP, a member of the Huntington Historical Society, Historical Sites Preservation Committee, Huntington Lions Club and the American Legion.  He sought to improve the quality of life and preserve the beauty and charm of the place he had come to call home. Mr. Klaber was an active member of the community until his death in 1971, at the age of 87 when at that time he was serving on the Chamber’s Planning and Zoning, Human Resources, and Town and County Affairs Committees.

A symbol of one’s dedication to your town, the Klaber Award is bestowed to an individual, at least 60 years of age, who has a record of distinguished and exceptional voluntary service to the community for 15 years or more.  Previous recipients include:

Clayton F. Mugridge – 1973

Bryon Sammis – 1974

John Ficker – 1975

Richard E. Allen – 1976

Honorable Fred Munder – 1977

Jack Lee – 1979

Jane M. Sullivan – 1981

Robert Mitchell – 1984

Ruth F. Concoran – 1986

John Jazombek – 1988

John Staib – 1989

Quentin Sammis – 1991

Anthony Mastroianni – 1992

Walter Spilsbury – 1997

Arthur Goldstein – 1998

Vaughan Spilsbury – 1999

Mary C. Cary – 2000

Libby Hubbard – 2001

Clifford Starkins & Joy Squires – 2002

Duncan Elder – 2003

Kenneth A. Christensen & Eleanor Casey – 2004

Delores Thompson – 2010

The award is not given every year and has not been awarded since 2010.  The deadline for nominations is August 1, 2013.  Please submit the names of those individuals you feel embody the spirit of community dedication and fulfill the nomination guidelines.  To nominate someone, please forward on the Chamber’s Klaber Nomination Committee (164 Main Street, Huntington, NY 11743), a letter detailing your candidates accomplishments along with supporting materials (biography, resume, press clippings, etc). The announcement of the recipient, if chosen, will be made at a chamber event later in the year.

For additional information, contact Ken Christensen, Chair of Klaber Nomination Committee at (631) 239-6311.