Christiana Zousias was just a little girl when she left Greece and moved to Chicago. But part of her always remained in the place that her extended family still calls home. Hoping to bring a little bit of her homeland to the United States, the Burr Ridge resident recently launched a company, Eternal Olive, that brings the finest olive oil, and its many benefits, to people everywhere.
Q. How long ago did you move to Burr Ridge?
A. I moved here in August, when my second son went off to college and I became an empty nester. It was a big life change. I moved from Hinsdale. That’s where I raised my kids.
Q. When did you come to the United States?
A. I came as a little girl, right before kindergarten. I learned to speak English in kindergarten. It was interesting to go to school and not speak the language. I have a fond memory of that time, even though it was challenging. Since then I have spent just about every summer in Greece. We have some real deep roots.
Q. What do you do professionally?
A. I am a certified public accountant and a certified valuation analyst. I just happen to be really good at numbers and my dad thought it would be a good career. Being a good Greek girl, that’s the path I followed.
Q. What is your specialty?
A. I had the opportunity to work on a fraud case many years ago. Since then I’ve been doing litigation consulting. It’s the sexy side of accounting, I guess you could say. I do forensic accounting and mediation work. Forensic accounting is much more deep than an audit. It’s to help parties prepare for trial.
Q. What prompted you to start your own company?
A. For years I, as a Greek person, I have been kind of enthralled by the olive, the olive tree. A couple of years ago, my sister and I were talking about how the global economy has changed the way we eat, the way we buy our food. We’re not the only ones who want to know where our food comes from. We really wanted to bring this to market in a very intimate way.
Q. Why olive oil?
A. I’ve used olive oil my whole life. I put olive oil on my skin every day. If we had an ear infection, we didn’t go to the doctor. My mom put a couple drops of olive oil in our ears. Most people don’t know that the Greek olive oil is some of the best in the world.
Q. What makes your olive oil special?
A. We started a quest to research Greek olive oil farms, to find small farms that really use the methods of the ancients — minimal irrigation, letting nature take its course. We researched for two years and were able to locate small farms that were organic and had the maximum nutrients. We only buy the early harvest, before the olive is ripe. It’s a really special oil. That’s what the farmers usually keep for themselves. It’s really special and unique. It’s a huge increase in health benefits and in taste.
Q. Does that mean you harvest only once per year?
A. Yes. We estimate our needs for the year and purchase in the fall.
Q. When will this year’s supply arrive?
A. It’s on its way right now! We expect it here in January.
Q. What would people be surprised to know about grocery store olive oil?
A. There’s an incredible amount of fraud in olive oil. Seventy percent that is called extra virgin is not. That means acidity levels are high and the nutrients are depleted. The typical bottle of olive oil isn’t giving you what you’re looking for.
Q. What are the health benefits of your olive oil?
A. There are so many. We call our oil Drops of Life. A lot of nutritionists are recommending 2 tablespoons of olive oil a day. Truly, it is a miracle fruit.
Q. And you use it on your skin?
A. It’s a beauty aid as well. We use it as a beauty cleanser, on outbreaks on the skin, as a treatment for eczema. It really is an incredible product.