Meet the Founder: David Zimmerman, Herb & Olive
Q: For those who don’t know, tell us a little about yourself and your brand?
My name is David Zimmerman. I’m the founder of Herb & Olive, a hip hop artist, poet, and many other things that would help others define me. Herb & Olive was built on the foundation of sourcing only the finest ingredients we could find. This ethos helped shape our brand identity as well as every other facet of the business. We started as a CBD-infused Extra Virgin Olive Oil company, and have grown into a wellness brand focused on healthy lifestyles. Mental and physical health are top priorities for me, so we’ve engrained those ideals into the brand as well. Our long term goal is to re-teach our population about the importance of taking care of your body from the inside out.
Q: What inspired you to create Herb-Olive?
I started Herb & Olive out of a necessity for my mental and physical health. I was a Senior Product Manager at BCG Digital Ventures for many years, helping shape the vision of and building products for fortune 500 companies. I’m sure many can relate to my story of the long hours, weekly traveling and little time for my creative self. I was diagnosed with Crohn’s Disease after being hospitalized multiple times and losing over 70% of the blood in my body overnight. This made me rethink my entire existence. I loved my job, but after a year of being on countless medications I couldn’t pronounce, and many more hospitalizations, I realized that it was time for a change. I gave myself two years to get my mind and body right. This meant getting off all pharmaceutical medications (against my doctor’s advice) and pursuing a creative path of my own choosing. I knew that I wanted to get into the physical product world, because I had been overwhelmed with the exponential increase in technology, and lived in that world on the daily basis at the firm. I tried CBD products to help alleviate symptoms of my condition, and began biohacking my body to get quantifiable evidence of the effectiveness of CBD. Everybody is different, but I noticed a decrease in the inflammation levels in my blood, so I knew this worked for me. The CBD market was already quite saturated in 2017, but no one had really tapped into pairing CBD with olive oil at the time. I have always loved cooking, and olive oil is a big part of my diet (and is also a super food which can help with reducing inflammation in the body and repairing the gut lining). I requested samples from dozens of CBD manufactures and olive oil farms in the country. After much trial and error, I found the perfect pairing of products. Organic whole hemp from Northern Oregon, extracted without any chemicals or harsh solvents + Organic Extra Virgin Olive Oil (EVOO) from a family farm in Northern California. I free’d myself from the shackles of western medication, my mind, body and spirit were fuller than they had been in years, and I quit my corporate job. At the end of 2019, Herb & Olive was born.
Q: November is often associated with giving, based on your inspiration to create the company, could you discuss how this month specifically resonates with your brand, product, and overall mission?
I grew up in a Jewish household. We weren’t super strict about religion, but we always appreciated the traditions when my grandparents were alive. The holidays were less about gifts, and more about spending time with family and enjoying home-cooked meals together. As I get older and define my own story, I’m realizing how important these moments were. If Covid taught me anything, it was the importance of time with friends and family. You never know when something can take a turn and change all of your plans. I’m honored to be able to create products that can be shared with friends and family. Olive oil is a staple in most every kitchen, and I find solace knowing that our products will elevate any meal, and be a healthy addition to the table. With a pandemic experienced by our entire global population, the reiteration of having a healthy lifestyle is more pronounced than ever. Taking steps daily to build a healthy foundation in your body is necessary for longevity. I’m not saying EVOO or CBD will cure you and make you a healthier person overnight, but adding these products to your daily routine (amongst other steps), will definitely help you get there.
Q: On a foodie level, what are some dishes you or your family like to make during the holidays? What are some interesting and/or unique ways you integrate your product while cooking?
With Thanksgiving, we keep it pretty traditional. I cut out gluten, dairy and refined sugars from my diet years ago, which helped me get off western medication. My family has been patient with me throughout this process, which I greatly appreciate. We end up making two of certain dishes so that we can all enjoy them together. My mom and I usually do the cooking for the holidays to give my dad a break. We’ll roast a turkey, varieties of mashed potatoes, roasted sweet potatoes, some sort of greens like brussels and asparagus, cranberry sauce and gravy. We keep the natural wine flowing, and my mom and I kick off the day with a shot of Jack Daniels (that story is for another day). Cooking and being together is really the foundation of it all. It’s funny how much time you spend cooking, just to sit down and eat for 30 minutes to an hour. It’s a metaphor for life really. It’s all about the journey not the destination. I’ve grown to truly appreciate these moments with my family, and I look forward to this every year. It’s even more special being able to incorporate this beautiful olive oil into every component of the meal.
Q: What is something you hope FastAF users will gain from your product?
I hope FastAF users get a better understanding for what real extra virgin olive oil should taste like. Unfortunately, like much of our food system in the US, there are a lot of poor quality industrialized products that are driven by the bottom line. Yes, making a profit is important in building a business, but it should never be the key driver to growth. You have my word that I will never lose the integrity of our products for profits. There’s a reason we spend 5x more than the market average for our whole hemp CBD. They take pride in their hemp and extraction processes, the same way we take pride in all of our products. Real EVOO should taste bright, vibrant and give you a peppery tingle on the back of your throat. I drink it by the spoonful, and I hope you will grow to enjoy doing the same.
Q: Anything else you would like to share?
We just finished production for our Organic CBD EVOO minis, and these will be live on our website before Thanksgiving, so keep your eyes out for that! You can subscribe to our newsletter at herb-olive.com