The orchard has 500 trees on 3 acres. The Tuscan (Italian) varietals are : Leccino, Frantoio, Maurino, Pendolino, Moraiolo, and Taggiasca. These varietals make up 87% of the olive oil. The other varietals that make up the remaining 13% are Picqual (Spain) and Picholine (Morrocco).
We also have 27 Italian Ascolano and Cerignola trees, as well as 6 Kalaman (Greece) for preparing as cured table olives (or if not harvested soon enough they go into the oil.) Pete cures the olives with garlic and serrano peppers- yum with a kick!
Our orchard is meticulously cared for by Pete and the excellent staff at Dirt Farmer, Inc. We care for the orchard under the same principles we use in the vineyard. We have been awarded Certified Sustainable by the Winegrowing Alliance and the Wine Institute of California since 2015. We use the minimum amount of spray to prevent the pesky olive fly. All sprays used are certified organic.
Our last harvest was on 11/10/16. The harvest produced 13 tons of olives which yielded 490 gallons of delicious extra virgin oil. The olives were milled that same evening at the Olive Leaf Hills Mill in nearby Sebastopol. The drums were picked up the next day and the oil has been stored in the dark cooling room in our shop at 58° F until bottled next door in bottling room. We do everything possible to keep the oil’s exposure to light, heat and air to a minimum- these are the enemies of olive oil.
Certified Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Our oil was certified Extra Virgin by the California Olive Oil Council in March, 2017. The process to getting certified is twofold: first, chemical analysis of the oil in a certified laboratory provides valuable information about the current condition of the oil. These tests reveal the degree of oxidation and release of fatty acids because of poor quality fruit or handling.
Secondly, sensory analysis (taste testing) by a panel of qualified judges describes what a lab test cannot-
the level of bitterness, pungency ,fruitiness and greenness that makes an oil to be considered mild/delicate, fruity/medium or intense/robust. Taste panels also test for any defects of the fruit or processing such as fustiness, mustiness, frozen/wet wood, or winey/acidity. They can also taste for defects produced in the improper storage of the oil- rancidity and muddy sediment. Any oil that has a defect cannot be labeled “extra virgin.”