In 2003 my wife and soul mate, Barbara, and I moved on to a 93 acre ranch in mid Carmel Valley, California, with our dogs and cats and managed to keep everyone content in a very small trailer until we finished building a portion of our ranch house. Having recently "retired" from owning several retail nursery businesses I was trying to fulfill a dream of becoming a real farmer and olive trees and their fruit seemed like a perfect fit for our terroir. This 'Mediterranean like' environment is very well suited for grapes and olives with shallow topsoil covering fractured Monterey shale coupled with deep ancient well water, abundant sunshine, occasional fog and typical Pacific Ocean coastal influences.
In early 2004 we planted our first 1000 Tuscan olive trees on the south facing hillsides of the valley. Following those first plantings came another 1000 and in addition to achieving sustainability we also installed a solar system, became CCOF certified as ORGANIC and joined the California Olive Oil Council to maintain our EXTRA VIRGIN status.
All of our work on this ranch is done by hand and the only machinery used is at the mill where we take our freshly picked fruit and process it within 12 hours of harvest.
The Tuscan varietals that we grow are Taggiasca, Maurino, and Pendolino. The Taggiasca is our primary producer that yields a very distinguished flavorful oil that is typically found in the Liguria region of northern Italy. Our Maurino olives produce a very robust oil that complements our field blend with the result being a peppery finish from this oil in the back of your throat. Under our hands on philosophy the trees have flourished and annually produce a clean, fresh, and very healthy extra virgin olive oil. This is the real deal and we encourage our customers to taste it along side other olive oils and witness first hand what a true California olive oil tastes like.
All video and photos by Cooper Griggs