Extra Virgin Olive Oil

Extra Virgin Olive Oil

Organically Farmed Olive Oil

olive orchard in Dunnigan Hills of Yolo County, CA

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We grow twelve acres of olive trees in the Dunnigan hills of Yolo County, California. The high temperatures and red, rocky soil contributes to the intense flavors of our oils. We harvest by hand in November when only around 30% of the fruit has turned color and the rest is still green. This results in sharper, more flavorful oils. We produce three different 100% extra virgin olive oils, a garlic infused oil and a lemon blend.

Varieties

Arbequina

Arbequina is a Spanish variety of olive originally grown in Catalonia that produces oil with a fresh, sweet, grassy taste. It is our most popular and best “all-around” oil. Arbequina olives are small and turn dark purple to black when ripe.
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Koroneiki

Koroneiki is a Greek variety of olive from the Peloponnese Islands that yields a robust, fruity oil with a strong, peppery finish. Koroneiki olive oil can be extremely pungent and grassy right after pressing. It mellows as it ages and hints of banana and pineapple begin to emerge. Koroneiki has an extremely high level of polyphenols, an antioxident with human health benefits. Polyphenols also give olive oil its pungency and prevent oxidation and rancidity. As a result, if stored properly, Koroneiki can have a shelf life of two to three years. Koroneiki olives are very small and turn red to purple when ripe.
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Frantoio, Leccino, and Pendolino

Frantoio, Leccino, and Pendolino are Tuscan varieties of olive that we blend together to produce a more mild, pleasant, green, fruity oil—the typical “Italian” flavor that many people are accustomed to. The olives are medium to small in size and turn purple to black when ripe. We have a limited quantity of this oil available.
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Lemon Blend

Lemon: We take a blend of our Arbequina and Koroneiki oil and press it along with whole Meyer lemons for a zesty hit of citrus. This oil is very flavorful and is great on salads or fish or for dipping bread. It can also be used in baking when a lemon flavor is desired.
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Arbequina and Frantoio, Leccino, and Pendolino are also excellent right out of the press. Known in Italian as “olio nuovo,” this fresh oil has an intense, grassy, herbaceous flavor and is only available for a few weeks each year.

Farming Practices

Olives on trees and conveyor during harvest

We grow our olives sustainably, without the use of pesticides or synthetic fertilizers. We control weeds in the spring by grazing sheep in the orchard and we fertilize with compost and raw milk. Irrigation is done through a drip system, which saves water and electricity. The electricity we do use is offset by our solar array, located right in the middle of the orchard.

Milling

organically grown olives closeupOur olives are milled within hours of harvest at the Seka Hills Olive Mill located nearby in the Capay Valley. This state-of-the-art olive mill uses an oxygen-free malaxer that shields the olive paste from destructive oxygen molecules during the milling process. When the olives arrive at the mill they are dumped into a hopper and carried up a conveyor belt where they are washed on their way to the hammer mill. The hammer mill grinds them into a paste, pits and all. This paste then enters the malaxer, where it is stirred for around half an hour to allow the olive oil molecules to begin to agglomerate. The paste then enters a horizontal decanter where it is spun at high speeds to separate the oil from the pomace (bits of olive meat, skin, and pit) and water. Finally, it enters a vertical separator where any remaining impurities are removed.  Heat or chemicals are never added and the olives are only processed once, meaning the oil can be called “first cold pressed” (olives are rarely actually “pressed” anymore, although use of the term continues). The entire process, from bitter olive to extra virgin olive oil, takes less than an hour. The oil can be used immediately as “olio nuovo.” The rest is stored in stainless-steel tanks where suspended particles settle out (the oil is never filtered) while the initial bitterness recedes and new flavors begin to emerge.

Storage

organically farmed olive oil in stainless steel storage tanksOlive oil lasts for years if store properly. Olive oil starts out strong and mellows with age. This can mean the emergence of new flavors, or, if stored improperly, going rancid. Olive oil sitting on a grocery store shelf is exposed to constant light, which can break it down and turn the oil somewhat orange. Heat also breaks oil down. We recommend that you store your oil in a kitchen cupboard rather than on the table or near the stove. If you do want to leave it out a dark bottle offers more protection than a clear bottle.

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