From: Sicilian Village
Posted: Tuesday, December 12, 2017
Some things can be planned, others happen organically. It is refreshing in these chaotic times to hear a heartfelt story of family love for its traditional Sicilian food, a tenacious entrepreneurial spirit, faith, and, in this case, a Sicilian old world recipe being shared from grandfather to grandson.
The family's marinated olives became the first product of their Sicilian Village brand. There have been many startup challenges, including Harvey, but the brand has beat the odds. Having grown so popular in Texas as an H-E-B "Primo Pick," the olives have now reached the astronaut grocery list aboard the International Space Station (I.S.S.).
Houston-based Sicilian Village Olives Rockets to Space For a Pizza Party in the International Space Station (I.S.S.)
David Quartaro, owner, recalls the moment that his grandfather looked at him, and squeezed his hand, his heart speaking more loudly than his words. "Grandpa's hopeful and fearless spirit filled me," David recalls, "Grandpa said that he wanted to see me succeed in the food business like he had with the Dutch Kettle restaurant. Authentic Sicilian foods are so hard to come by, he would always say." After his grandfather passed away in 2014, David's entrepreneur spirit ignited to make a leap of faith, honor his heritage, and start working full time in the specialty food business with his wife Stacey.
Marinating olives and building an authentic food brand became David and Stacey's life focus. David raised money from friends and investors to build a production facility in Dickinson, Texas, a Houston suburb. Little would he know that Hurricane Harvey would destroy many of the businesses in Dickinson a few years later—fortunately, miraculously, sparing his beloved olive business. In September 2017, H-E-B asked to become an exclusive partner to sell Sicilian Village products in Texas and northern Mexico for the next five years. Bed Bath & Beyond started selling Sicilian Village olives at select stores nationally. Sicilian Village olives have been an Amazon Prime item since 2009.
The Quartaros won't tell you the secret ingredients used in their marinade, but customers will swear that those spices are a winning formula. Bloomberg News picked up on the flavor of the olives and the convenient "snack pack" and bought 40,000 packs for a healthy snack event they hosted recently.
The biggest surprise came last autumn when David and Stacey heard a rumor that their olives had traveled to the International Space Station—more than once. Whoever thinks about where the astronauts do their grocery shopping? Or how a food makes it onto their regular staples list?
Apparently, NASA shops at H-E-B in Houston, where they found the Sicilian Village marinated olive snack packs prominently displayed. "I know Grandpa Quartaro is very proud of us," David smiles, "When the I.S.S. pizza party aired on TV and online, showing our olive packs floating from one astronaut to another, and our olives on Italian astronaut Paolo Nespoli's pizza, it was like we were dreaming." Even growing up near NASA, the couple never imagined seeing their products in space.
Sicilian Village is a limited partnership of specialty food products based in Dickinson, Texas. Marinated olives are their first product, produced in the USA. In 2018, Sicilian Village will introduce a hand-selected line of ancient grain pastas, extra virgin olive oil, specialty sauces, pestos and spreads imported from Sicilian producers they know by name, with love and pride.
Sicilian Village, L.P.
951 FM 646
Dickinson, TX 77539
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