Meet Mike Fisher and his wife Ruth Ann
Welcome (or welcome back!) to Coronado Taste of Oils. We are so honored to be new business owners in such a wonderful community. Our shop has such a magnificent reputation due to previous owner, Roberta Korte, and we are happy to continue offering gourmet fused and infused olive oil & balsamic flavors, along with different home accessory, and condiment lines!
We are looking forward to involving top chefs from the Coronado community and engaging in a robust season of cooking demonstrations.
Please come in and say hello! And if we do not get the chance to meet in person, we are very active on social media, and respond to all messages quickly.
Taste Of Oils Changes Hands … But The Passion Continues
When Mike Fisher retired from his job as a defense contractor, preceded by a previous retirement from a Navy career, he knew he would stay busy. He didn’t know it would be as a store owner.
A few months ago, Fisher heard through his wife Ruth Ann, a Coronado realtor, that Coronado Taste of Oils’ owner Roberta Korte was planning on selling the business. Korte asked Ruth Ann Fisher if she knew someone who was interested. When Mike Fisher heard the store was up for sale he jumped at the opportunity. Fisher, who is into fine wines and cooking, was also a customer at Taste of Oils and knew the store well. “I knew the products…there is a uniqueness and calmness to the store,” he said. “Ruth Ann gets the credit [for this new venture.] She has always been an entrepreneur. She points and shoots me in the right direction. She has a great mind,” he said.
Fisher and his wife were high school sweethearts. They married after graduation and Fisher enlisted in the U.S. Navy. In 1983 the couple came through Coronado while Fisher was on the USS Texas on a world tour. “We fell in love with Coronado but didn’t think we’d be back,” he said.
The Navy took the couple all over and Fisher eventually became a commissioned officer. “I did surface tours on the East Coast and took command of the USS Zephyr PC8 in support of the Special Naval Warfare here in 1999,” he explained.
The couple has two grown children Kelcey who is an artist and Cassandra Joan. Fisher has been involved in the community over the years by coaching boys and girls Lacrosse, and being part of the Chamber of Commerce. Fisher retired from the Navy in 2002 and worked as a defense contractor for 15 years until this past May. He is an avid surfer and sailor.
Before taking over Taste of Oils, Fisher threw himself into research for three months and learned all about the medical benefits of olive oil and balsamic vinegar. During his research he read a book called “Extra Virginity History from Past to Present” which has taught him a lot. Olive oils sold at the store follow the Ultra Premium Standards which exceed the USDA, Australian and California standards for extra virgin olive oil. Fisher proudly explains that his products, just like Korte’s before him, are supplied by Veronica Foods, a well known distributor and producer of olive oils founded by an Italian American family in 1924. Veronica foods imports more than 1 million gallons of extra virgin olive oil a year and owns an olive grove in Tunisia. Veronica Foods offers only the best olive oils. .
“After World War II and the Mediterranean diet came out, olive oil and extra virgin olive oil was cut with less than standard oil,” explained Fisher. But that’s not what Taste of Oils carries. “The chemistry doesn’t lie,” he said
“There are two crushes a year and we expect to see new olive oils in December from Italy, Greece and Spain,” said Fisher. Currently oils sold at the store come from the Chile and Tunisia.
Fisher pointed out the health benefit of balsamic vinegar that includes reducing blood sugar, promoting healthy digestion and lowering cholesterol. The benefits of extra virgin olive oil are strong anti-inflammatory properties, can help with rheumatoid arthritis, and is rich in healthy monosaturated fats.
During the Taste of Coronado which was held recently Fisher offered Bellinis, Ice Cream with Black Cherry Balsamic and Champagne with Cranberry Pear Balsamic. “I have become very educated [on oils and balsamic vinegars]; I love to cook with it,” he said. Customers won’t notice much of a difference when they enter Taste of Oils except for some new shelves and changes in the center aisle. The oils and vinegars have been reorganized and the oils now progress from virgin to fused and infused and on the balsamic vinegar side from traditional balsamic to whites.
Korte, the previous owner, truly ran a family business for nine years with her son who is a CPA doing the bookkeeping and her daughter the website. Fisher continues to use Korte’s daughter’s services to keep up the store’s website where recipes are also posted – a tradition started by Korte. “We have recipes online and specials online. This month’s special is maple balsamic and olive oil infused with blood orange,” he said.
Mouth watering recipes online include Peach Balsamic Savory Skillet Chicken, Short Rib Garlic and Rosemary Olive Oil Pot Pie and White Truffle Cream Pasta. Taste of Oils offers a large number of oils and vinegars that range from Fig Balsamic, to Apricot Balsamic to Vanilla Mushroom and Sage olive oil, and the best seller Herbs de Provence olive oil.
The store sells olive oils and vinegars in three sizes 200 ml., 375 ml. and 750 ml. as well as 60 ml. bottles which are TSA approved for travel. Shipping all over the U.S. is also available at a flat rate.
Customers at Taste of Oils are a mix of locals and tourists as well as people from the area who come through on the Bite San Diego tours. Taste of Oils continues to offer gourmet foods like jams, hot sauces, mustards, salts, pastas and gift items including olive oil based skin care. Handmade aprons are still a big attraction and new tablecloths from France are available. Taste of Oils is a great place to shop for presents as well as the upcoming Christmas seasons with pre-made baskets or you can create your own.
“It was challenging, it was an immersion, Roberta guided me. It’s a fun learning curve. There’s not one day when I leave that I didn’t learn something,” he said. “I enjoy talking to people.”
Fisher is building on Korte’s prior work and customer base and keeping prices reasonable while offering quality products. Korte decided to sell the store to dedicate herself to painting. Some of her art work is still displayed in the walls of the store. For the future Fisher plans on having his son Kelcey do artwork on the walls.
Fisher honors Korte’s discounts with 10 percent off for first responders, military personnel and teachers. The store also works with six non-profits and offers 10 percent of the proceeds of the sales for a specific day going to the organizations.
These days Fisher can be found welcoming customers and taking time to explain the products and help with tastings. Fisher’s wife also takes time to help with orders and inventory when she can get away from her real estate job.
Fisher plans to expand product offerings in the store and online and he’s currently running a special – buy one get the second half off.
“I was more of a scientist and engineer, now my uniform of the day is an apron,” he said.