I am Emine Colin and I would love to share with you a little bit about my story and how I decided to embark on this magical journey through the world of olive oil!
A true rebel spirit
Great part in this choice played my origin and culture. My story is filled with love of community, fearlessness in the face of new challenges, and female empowerment. I am Turkish, born and raised in Istanbul. Spending time with my grandmother in rural Turkey taught me a lot about farm life and planted the first seeds of my interest in nature and the environment. A true rebel spirit, I refused to abide by the rules of the strict Turkish society at the time and I felt that I needed to explore the world and start a new chapter in my life. Without hesitating a second, I decided to move to the States at the age of 19. I arrived there with very little, yet I feel that life has brought me so much.
Caring for others
Starting from college and dental school, ROTC and serving in the National Guard, I then traveled around the world with the U.S. Army Dental Corps, earned the rank of Major, and eventually settled in northern California, raised a family and opened my own Endodontic practice.
Caring for others has always been a great part of my journey in life as well as finding ways to improve the lives of those in my community.
Discovering Olive Oil
At a later stage in my life, I met my husband Mark who inspired me to go back to my native country and connect with my roots. We traveled a lot around Turkey. The Mediterranean environment in combination with the vast olive fields gave me the idea of diving into the cultivation and production of olive oil. Mark and I drove through the region of Milas and fell in love with the natural beauty of the area. After some research and hunting, we found a large property in disrepair; its owner, an elderly woman, explained that the younger generation had left for opportunities in larger cities (much like my father had when I was a toddler), and was not interested in caring for the family land. We felt so at peace walking around this place so we decided to acquire it. And that’s where everything kicked off.
Supporting the Local Community and Female Entrepreneurship
Oro di Milas
a world-class ambassador
Emine’s goal is for Oro di Milas Extra Virgin Olive Oil to serve as an ambassador of Turkish culture to the rest of the world. She hopes that tasting a top-quality extra virgin olive oil from Turkey will encourage people to learn more about the country she loves with its beautiful beaches and hillside towns, and its wonderful cuisine (her favorites include Hünkar Beğendi (eggplant pure with veal in red sauce) and Künefe (cheese-filled pastry with pistachios and syrup). It is Emine’s hope through understanding and appreciation we can build a better world for future generations.
Emine then found friends (and friends of friends) to work the land and revitalize the trees. When word spread throughout the community about her purchase, more families approached Emine; currently, she owns four orchards totaling 300 acres of 8.000 olive trees. When asked what compelled her to begin this venture, Emine responded, “the neglected trees seemed like orphaned children; how could I not help?”
Emine’s acquisitions have helped in many ways. She helps the sellers who possess little besides their land; she helps the terrain by revitalizing the orchards; she helps the community by providing new employment opportunities; and she helps the region by supporting the local
economy. But for Emine, this is not enough as she also wants to teach others about the added value of producing a world-class Extra Virgin Olive Oil (EVOO). As she eloquently states, “we want to bring education to this community and around the world on the wings of the dove that is carrying an olive branch.”
In addition to the support that Emine is offering to the local community, she is also a passionate advocate of female entrepreneurship. She has helped many local women through her olive oil project by giving them the opportunity to work in the fields and in the olive oil mill and contribute to the production of Oro di Milas. She has also promoted many activities for local female entrepreneurs.
The history and culture of the Milas region are intricately interwoven with Oro Di Milas EVOO. Great inspiration in this effort was, more specifically, the symbols encountered on the famous Turkish carpets (kilims) of Milas.
Symbols have always been used to inform, communicate, and convey ideas. Their use on Turkish carpets is not limited to decorative purposes. Women in tribal and village societies wove carpets using various symbols and themes, which were appropriate to their circumstances at various points in their lives. For example, they wove symbols of marriage, happiness, family, and fertility for wedding occasions, symbols of protection against wild animals, or more abstract concepts such as the evil eye or evil energy when such threats were believed to be imminent. Every carpet woven during these times tells a story.
These complex patterns found on the carpets of Milas inspired the packaging of Oro Di Milas Reserve.
If you look carefully, you will see that the packaging of this unique product is a synthesis of the following four symbols:
Tree of life
Symbol of immortality, fertility, afterlife, connection between earth and heaven, between the physical and spiritual world, togetherness, connection to the world, balance
Symbol of fertility, life-giving, nurturing, point of origin, source of creation,
mother goddess, a mother with child in womb, abundance or the hope of giving birth to healthy children, and the productivity of animals and plants
Ward off the evil eye,
emblem of protection, faith, and creative energy, spiritual insight, awareness
Symbol of peace and victory, friendship, cleansing and healing, longevity, wisdom, purity, prosperity
Source: Milas Carpet Museum
This is a great place to add a tagline.
Carpets of Milas
Milas County is one of the most ancient settlements of Yoruk and Turcoman tribes in the region. As the first financial and social structures started taking form, the art of carpet weaving was also introduced not only in the region but also in the whole country.
The oldest examples of Milas carpet making date from the 17th - 19th centuries. Various examples of Milas carpets, made with different designs and compositions, are exhibited in big museums of Turkey and around the world. Milas carpet weaving tradition is known for its rare technique using only narrow and wide borders.
Milas carpet weaving art constitutes a cultural treasure of the region and its value is timeless. The designs are inspired by earth and nature and each carpet tells a story that is unfolding in the hands of the women of Milas.
The most important element that gives Milas carpets their special character is their knotted technique, the so-called 'Turkish knot'. This technique was brought by the Turks from Central Asia and distinguishes Milas carpets from other pieces of weaving art worldwide.