Toby Simmonds and Jenny-Rose Clarke started The Real Olive Company in 1993, and based themselves between Cork’s English Market and Toonsbridge, with market stalls and wholesale customers around the country.
When Toby and Jenny-Rose first started making Mozzarella, these market stalls were ideal for distributing their cheese as freshly as possible, and offered the perfect opportunity to get direct feedback from customers. Originally, Toby and Jenny-Rose had been importing Italian Mozzarella, but they found that by the time it got to Ireland, it wasn't as fresh as they would have liked. Mozzarella should always be eaten as freshly as possible, and so Toby and Jenny-Rose decided to start making their own Irish Mozzarella.
To this day, Toons Bridge Diary cheeses are sold predominantly through the Real Olive Company stalls, as well as through Toby and Jenny-Rose’s well-established wholesale network.
The Real Olive Company began life in 1993 in Cork’s English Market, when Toby Simmonds, at the age of twenty, took a small stall at the Princes Street end of the market. The stall began with just ten varieties of olives and a few other Mediterranean foods. The Cork public were equally suprised and bemused by this addition to the market, and a common enquiry was “what kind of grapes are you selling?" However the arrival of the Olive Stall into the market coincided with a number of other diversifications from the traditional fare, including two cheese stalls, Iago and "The French People's" also the handmade charcuterie of On The Pigs Back. Cork, and Ireland in general was opening up to an array of new foods and tastes. Later The Real Olive Company moved to a bigger corner stall towards the Grand Parade entrance.
In 1994, The Real Olive Company lauched its first van onto the street markets of Ireland. It was a fifteen year old battered Toyota Hiace, and it served it's purpose. Starting in Galway’s St Nicholas market, The Real Olive Company set about bringing olives to the rest of the country. Over the years, The Real Olive Company has participated in over 35 markets nationwide.
The Real Olive Company still buys from it's initial supplier, who instills values in the company that are the cornerstone of the business today. Their supplier is an extensive market trader in the South West of Germany and Eastern France, and only works with independent market traders. The Real Olive Company and their supplier both believe that markets offer the best place to sell foods that are outside of the mass produced industry foods which line the supermarket shelves. Their supplier has long held connections to communities all over the Mediterranean, with whom he has been dealing with for over thirty years. The Real Olive Company has also been cultivating relationships by going directly to a number of producers, resulting in them significantly extended their range of produce over the years.
The Real Olive Company strives to present their customers with both value and the best quality. They go to huge lengths to source products that are natural and not packed with additives. They never use refined oils on any of our products, and have only dealt in extra virgin olive oils from regional producers or cooperatives. The Real Olive Company pride themselves on being able to sell olives that the supermarkets could not sell, and have introduced Irish palates to many foods that could only ever have been found in their native countries. They have diversified into other related projects over the years, but their core business is still the importing and sale through markets of the finest Mediterranean foods that they can source.