Olive oil is a standard tool in many a kitchen around the world, especially in the Middle East and Western regions. Our desire to make our own olive oil and create a business around olive oil production began in 1999 when we imported over two thousand olive tree clones from the Tuscan region of Italy...
Our forty acre, 2000-tree orchard CCOF-certified organic orchard is located high in the grassy oak and redwood-covered hills of our "Somendo" ranch, located on the Sonoma/Mendocino county line off the scenic highway 128 which meanders its way to the legendary Anderson Valley and the Mendocino Coast. The sunny Mediterranean climates of Northern California are ideal for growing the quality olives necessary to produce only the best oil. There are five Tuscan varietals we grow; Leccino, Frantoio, Moraiolo, Pendolino, and Maurino. These were intentionally picked based on their range of grassy, peppery, fruity, and nutty qualities.
The orchard is 100% off the grid on our own 3500 acre ranch which means all our methods directly affect our own property. The trees are high on the mountain so our irrigation pond is not fed by any streams nor is it located where the water table is shallow and plentiful, so watering must be done judiciously. Also, we purchased the land originally for the sole purpose of protecting open space so it is in our best interest to make as little impact as possible; to do this we did very little terracing, kept the planted acreage to a minimum, and very importantly, only planted in places where it wasn't necessary to remove any trees.
After harvesting, olives must be pressed within twenty-four hours (the sooner the better), otherwise they begin to lose their potency which is why we chose our Hopland location which is in southern Mendocino County and easily accessible from Napa and Sonoma Counties.
Our preferred style of oil tends to be on the peppery, pungent side of the scale. To achieve this we typically harvest when the olives are about 40%-60% ripe; however, for our olio nuovo or "new oil" we harvest a small batch a little earlier for maximum pungency. This is oil that is harvested, pressed quickly then straight to the bottle without settling or filtering.