Hope Valley Commons is now home to Blue Sky Oil and Vinegar’s newest location. The specialty shop, owned by Glenda Keenan, sells a wide variety of extra virgin olive oils and balsamic vinegars. After being inspired by a similar business near her summer home in Michigan, Glenda opened the original store on Elliott Road in Chapel Hill in 2010.
“I had always intended to expand to Durham,” Glenda says. “I think the Durham market is as good as the Chapel Hill market, as far as the people who live there, their lifestyle, the way they eat and the way they cook.”
No matter what you’re looking for, there’s no shortage of flavor here. The number varies, but there are generally close to three dozen types of oils and vinegars to choose from; Blue Sky also sells around two dozen specialty salts that come in flavors ranging from vanilla to sriracha.
There’s an abundance of samples available, so consider yourself warned: It’s hard not to want to try everything in the store. I tasted the blood orange olive oil (deliciously citrusy) and the dark chocolate balsamic (my favorite). Each item has a tag that includes a description, as well as suggestions for what to pair it with. You might, for example, think about adding a little espresso balsamic to whipped cream.
Regardless of whether you’re an all-star in the kitchen or more of a beginner, Blue Sky’s knowledgeable staff is on hand to answer questions, make recommendations and provide the guidance needed to make the perfect purchase.
“Our staff is absolutely phenomenal and our customers are phenomenal,” Glenda says. “Most of the people who walk in here walk in with a very pleasant attitude of wanting to learn.”
Although Blue Sky's Durham location is open now, a grand opening event is planned for Saturday, February 2 from 10am-5pm. There will be raffles, champagne and plenty of food, so be sure to check it out—the sky’s the limit, after all.