After hopscotching around various North County towns, olive oil sommelier Theo Stephan has settled her longtime business, Global Gardens, into a cozy yellow stucco building in the heart of Santa Ynez.
The newer site is the first time both Stephan’s storefront and storage facility have been under one roof.
During its 25 years in business, Global Gardens has rented various spaces, first at Buttonwood Farm Winery & Vineyards in Los Olivos two separate times and once in Los Alamos.
“I’m thrilled to be in Santa Ynez,” she told Noozhawk.
The Ohio native founded Global Gardens in 1998 — the same year she celebrated her first olive harvest. In 1996, she was the first in Santa Barbara County to plant trees for extra virgin olive oil.
“I was also the first in the United States to offer an olive oil club” to consumers, Stephan recalled.
Over the years, she raised two daughters adopted from Nepal, Anita and Sunita, who are now 27 and 28, she said.
Global Gardens now has a staff of eight — including Stephan and a fulltime on-site chef, she said.
“We make what we sell,” she added.
With a spacious covered courtyard, complete with tables and seating, behind her retail space, Stephan has launched pop-up events that feature local and regional chefs.
Stephan will continue to host pop-up events about every six weeks.
“There’s so many fresh ingredients available around the valley, from our local farmers’ markets and more,” she said. “I’m all about sourcing from local farmers to create international flavors.”
Stephan encourages newbies to partake in Global Gardens’ olive oil tasting — “a taste education” — to learn the nuances of various oils and her specialty vinegars.
“One people have tasted, they get it,” she said.
Stephan said she is proud to be working alongside among other “mature” female entrepreneurs in Santa Ynez, among them Amy Dixon of The Baker’s Table, Joy Reinhardt of Ellie’s Tap & Vine, and other women who own the various clothing and gift boutiques.
Global Gardens, at 3570 Madera St., is open from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesday through Sunday. Email email@example.com for more information.