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.
The order in which I mentioned them is pretty much the order in which we milled them. Each cultivar has an optimal moment, which offers its full potential. It’s also worth noting that we are forced to schedule the production in order to be done before the frosts of mid-December. We worked from end of October until the first week of December.
Frost can severely damage olives, which is why we avoid it. When olives freeze their vacuoles (the tiny cells in the olive where the oil lies) freeze and their walls collapse. Then, the vegetable water washes the olive oil, depriving it of its antioxidants and oxidizing it. Olive oils made with these damaged olives have funny flavors of vanilla or colas, a sort of denatured sweetness. They can’t be EVOO and the defect associated with this is called “frozen.”
The weather patterns were not so great this time (periodic rain made us postpone milling several times). Nevertheless, we managed to overcome these dictates from Mother Nature and finish in time. I always like to remind olive oil lovers that the major characteristics/quality of our products depend on natural conditions. Then, we do our best.
We saw several excellent olive oils being born and that makes up for all the intense work we put into making them. Working in the mill is not always easy. One day olives arrive quite late, another day the rain frustrates us, or a piece of equipment breaks. Some days we’re just dead tired.
As I said in a recent interview: “And then, great olive oil is made and we forget all the negatives. A good thing has happened, and we’re part of it. Those moments, for us who deeply love what we do, are almost as healing and powerful as olive oil itself.”
We invite you to try all of our California extra virgin olive oils this year—see the tasting notes and varieties used for each oil here:
- Tehama Blend
- Eva’s Blend
- Proprietor’s Select
- Tuscan Blend
- Certified Organic Blend—Certified Organic by CCOF
We wish you a happy new year in which your health and meals will be graced with good olive oil.
PS: We’ll share soon, in coming entries, the characteristics of the new blends and their chemical analyses, which we make public every year. Stay tuned!