Late last October, when those torrential rains were just flirting with California, a group of us got to spend a couple days learning all about how olive oil is made with California Olive Ranch.
A number of years ago I learned from my friend Kathryn about the pervasiveness of questionable quality around olive oil. Read about it. California Olive Ranch works with UC Davis’ Olive Center in its commitment to strict quality and transparency.
They walked us through the entire process of making olive oil.
We learned about production from start to finish. It made me love olive oil even more!
Beautiful, fresh olive oil just processed – also called olio nuovo. When you taste olive oil the way the pros do, where you sip a tiny bit of oil, clench your teeth, and suck in air in short bursts, so the oil hits all the different taste buds – you get a sense for grassy elements, fruity elements, and that delightful spicy heat that comes from polyphenols. It adds a layer of depth to the appreciation.
Paging Laverne and Shirley!
In the beautiful olive fields.
We watched the harvester power slowly down the row in anticipation of getting the chance to hop aboard. Who knew how fun riding a harvester would be? It was loud, dusty, and vibrated to an industrial degree, but we got an expansive view of the northern reaches of California’s central valley, a gorgeous fall day whose air was cleared by morning rain, and the chance to witness a bit of the production.
PS: Did you see the Persimmon Olive Oil Bread that I posted in December? I love baking with olive oil, and while persimmons are gone now, you can make the bread with winter squash or sweet potatoes! YUM.
A huge thank you to California Olive Ranch, who generously covered the costs for travel for this trip. All thoughts and opinions are mine.