3 Questions with Tim Balshi of Seasons Olive Oil & Vinegar Taproom

This weekend (Saturday 11/1, 1-3pm), we're proud to offer the third in our series of fall membership events—at Seasons Olive Oil & Vinegar Taproom! This time, foodies will delight in a gift of a free sampler of olive oil or vinegar upon joining the Co-Op, and free artisan cheese samples will be offered to all who attend. We caught up with Seasons' owner, Tim Balshi, to chat about his store and why he believes in the Bethlehem Food Co-Op.

SeasonsFlyer.jpg1. Season has four locations—two in PA and two in MD. What made you decide to open a store in downtown Bethlehem?

Our first store was downtown Bethlehem, my hometown. I saw a need in our town for authentic, fresh extra virgin olive oil and high quality balsamic vinegars as no supermarkets sell anything close in terms of quality and value.  

When we started our importing operation 15 years ago, Bethlehem welcomed our family’s olive oil that we crush in Spain with open arms. In fact, we still have many local customers buying our family reserve EVOO today at our storefront.  

Bethlehem holds a special spot in my heart, particularly the Historic Downtown. It is both a unique and special place filled with history and character.

2. You recently moved your store next door into a larger space and now offer a meat and cheese counter, as well as an expanded selection overall. What can customers who haven’t visited your new location yet expect that’s different from your previous store?

The new space is larger and frankly we needed an updated store that was fresh and clean. Our previous storefront was too small for our existing operation. The cheese and charcuterie counter is a new addition, and we’re happy to see that locals seem to have welcomed the new add on.

Our service will always be hands-on as we educate our customers and help them with product recommendations and pairings. Not much else has changed outside of the fact that we now sell more healthy food products that matter. 

3. Why did you decide to host an event to help the Bethlehem Food Co-op attract new members? What is it that you hope the co-op can provide for the community when its storefront opens?

I think the Food Co-op is a great idea and is much needed downtown. I continue to see many local “specialty” supermarkets going the other direction - mass market and re-branded products that you can find anywhere else. I feel that the Co-op has a great opportunity to offer the community locally sourced meat and poultry and, most importantly, local produce. It’s tough to find local produce in a convenient format. You end up driving all over to find what you’re looking for. I’m hopeful the Co-Op will help to bridge that gap and offer local produce, dairy and other items that support PA agriculture and the community at large.

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