Olive Oil “Pâté” Tested at UC Davis

A couple of years ago, Brendon Flynn, Pacific Sun Farm’s general manager, and myself visited Tuscany, Italy. We visited with olive oil producers, toured olive mills and tasted Tuscan EVOOs.

Since we were checking milling equipment as well, we visited Alfa Laval and also, Oliomio / TEM, owned by friendly Giorgio Mori. In that visit, a group of producers, agronomists, researchers and tasters gathered there to welcome us and taste our Californian oils. Aside from receiving very useful feedback, I was delighted to see how that group interacted. Continue reading Olive Oil “Pâté” Tested at UC Davis

Posted on Categories Health, Milling

Under the Microscope 2018—Pacific Sun Farms Olive Oils and Chemical Composition

We’ve made it a good habit to make public all the chemical analyses of our extra virgin olive oils.

In order to get the extra virgin certification seal from the California Olive Oil Council we need to present the results of several tests. Once you meet the standards of these tests, a blind tasting is done by a trained panel in Berkeley. The tasters (a minimum of eight) will tell if each olive oil is defect-free and only then will they award the extra virgin grade. In all these years of making olive oil, Pacific Sun Farms has always achieved the extra virgin status. Continue reading Under the Microscope 2018—Pacific Sun Farms Olive Oils and Chemical Composition

Posted on Categories General, Health, Milling

News from the Mill 2017–2018

Not long ago we finished our milling season. As a colleague put it, it’s like ending a marathon. First of all, we’re happy with having endured many long, long days of hard work.

We’re happy with the outcome as well. This year we had more availability in terms of olive cultivars, resulting in very interesting, diverse olive oils. We worked with Leccino, Frantoio, Arbequina, Taggiasca, Picual, Ascolano, Mission and Coratina varieties. Continue reading News from the Mill 2017–2018

Posted on Categories Harvesting, Milling

California Olive Cultivars: Sevillano

In Andalucia, Southern Spain, there’s a large olive variety known as Gordal. The name of the olive refers to “gorda” (fat), given that these olives can reach 12 grams of weight (0.42 oz). This vigorous, slender tree is mostly planted in the province of Seville and therefore its olives are known as Gordal Sevillana (there are similar trees in Granada and Hellín, where the Gordal of Granada, a little smaller is produced, as well as the Gordal of Hellín, even smaller than the latter and used also for olive oil).

The Gordal Sevillana is exclusively used as a table olive and it’s always present in a “tapas” (small portions) menu, often stuffed with red peppers, almonds, cheese or anchovies (their large size lends itself to it). Continue reading California Olive Cultivars: Sevillano

Posted on Categories Milling, Recipes

Table Olive Recipes

At Pacific Sun Farms, along with olive oil, we produce a small amount of table olives. We use a traditional, artisanal method using brine (salt and water), that very slowly pulls the bitterness out of the olive through its pores. This process takes months, sometimes more than one year, depending on ripeness and cultivars. We cure mostly Kalamatas, Sevillanos, Manzanillos and Lucques too.
In the initial phase of the curing, sugars in the olive produce a lacto- fermentation that brings a nice flavor and great health benefits from the good bacteria (lactobacillus planctarum) that grows in it.

Nowadays, most commercial olives are cured with lye (caustic soda). This is a method favored by the industry (it takes only hours and a couple of days of rinsing) which can make good olives (basically non-bitter olives) though strips all the goodness out of the olives. Continue reading Table Olive Recipes

Olive Oil summer recipes: tomato bruschetta

There are some dishes that are ideal to feature and showcase a good olive oil: boiled potatoes, purees, bean soups (as the famous soup so typical of Tuscany, the “ribollita”), pastas, the Caprese salad, pizzas.

Bruschettas are among them. Bruschettas (which should be pronounced as “bruce (as in Bruce Lee) and kettas (and not schettas as we often hear) are a classic of that country side cuisine of Central Italy that emerged out of poverty, ingenuity and good ingredients. “Bruscare,” in the dialect of the Lazio region (where Rome is), means to roast over coals.

If you roast a piece of bread, rub a clove of garlic against it and then pour some olive oil in it, you already have a very tasty appetizer. In Italy, they’d call that a “fetunta.” Now, if you add some toppings, you have a bruschetta. Continue reading Olive Oil summer recipes: tomato bruschetta

Posted on Categories General, Milling, Recipes

Enjoying Pacific Sun Olive Oils / Eva’s Blend

When we made Eva’s Blend for first time, several years ago, we aimed at making an olive oil that would feature some specific olive oil from that season. Over time, and listening to the great chefs we work with, Eva’s Blend evolved into a finishing olive oil for fine restaurants, when the need is a versatile EVOO, of rather gentle flavors.

In these last four or five years, Eva’s Blend has consistently been of medium-mild intensity. We always made sure that even when we were looking for an olive oil of subtle flavors, it could not be just a fruity but mellow, flat olive oil. We’re convinced that olive oils of quality must have a good structure (meaning some nice bitterness and a degree of pungency) that will guarantee a decent shelf life.

In February 2016 we visited with producers, tasters and researchers in Tuscany, Italy. When they tasted Evas’ Blend all of them were positively surprised. They found this olive oil quite interesting, noting that for them it was a type of oil difficult to achieve, given the cultivars they work with. They also guessed correctly that it would be a chef favorite, being so adaptable to different needs in the kitchen.

Continue reading Enjoying Pacific Sun Olive Oils / Eva’s Blend

Pacific Sun Olive Oils – Under the microscope 2017

Every year we present the chemical analysis of our olive oils. All extra virgin olive oils need to pass a chemical analysis to be certified EVOO.

These analyses can tell quite a bit about the oil’s quality. Once the oil passes these tests, a panel of judges gives the final word after a collective blind tasting. If the statistics resulting from the individual tastings find the oil holds positive attributes and is free of defects, the olive oil in question will be certified EVOO.

These standards were set in the EU at the beginning of the 1990s and they’re still under debate. It’s mostly producers like Pacific Sun Farms and our fellow small to medium producers in California, and the world, that are pushing for stricter standards.

So far, in the U.S., we don’t have a law enforcing EVOO standards. However, along with members of the California Olive Oil Council (COOC), we follow similar standards as those set by the International Olive Council (IOC). Continue reading Pacific Sun Olive Oils – Under the microscope 2017

News from the Mill ~ The Year of the Mission Olive

After almost two months we’re approaching the end of the milling season. As always, we’re both tired and happy. Obviously tired from many long days of hard work and happy for having endured and made good EVOO along the way.

As we explained previously, this was one of the most challenging seasons we ever had. A lighter crop, adverse weather patterns (specially the abundant rain in October and November), low yields.

On top of that, a large Australian company arrived in California and had a policy of out pricing the market and thus grabbing orchards that were working with other producers, including us. This had seriously affected us, both in terms of quantity and quality.

Nevertheless, as we say in my country, there’s not bad thing that does not bring a good thing and that, somehow happened. This year, due to the loss of some orchards and certain cultivars, we finally were able to tap into the potential of the Mission olive, something I’ve been wanting to do for a while. Continue reading News from the Mill ~ The Year of the Mission Olive