Easily one of my top five pantry staples, extra virgin olive oil is what I use to cook with most often. To dress a salad or finish my favorite roasted potatoes or add moisture to the best lemon loaf ever. We were invited up to the groves and mill of California Olive Ranch to take a closer look at their process and while I had an idea of the olive oil process from past work experience, it was fascinating to see it on a larger scale.
First of all, the transparency was enough to make me love their brand even more, as they are truly taking every precaution to ensure their oil is the highest quality. I couldn’t believe how many rounds of quality control the olives go through before they are actually pressed. You are probably familiar with their green, squared bottle. They sell it at most grocery stores and even sell at Costco. While the ‘Everyday’ oil is great for, well, everyday, I really enjoyed getting to taste the difference between their Reserve Collection bottles – some mild, or a more spicy, peppery variety for getting great flavor as a salad dressing where you’ll really taste it.
This November, California Olive Ranch is introducing a new suite of products called Destination Series. As they’ve prepared for the weather systems to fluctuate, the brand has been establishing relationships with other olive growers outside of the U.S., who grow their crop with the same attention to detail. After years of perfecting the craft, they are releasing a line of affordable blends, reflective of these partnerships abroad. We had the chance to taste them and again, each so unique and fresh tasting. Can’t wait to pick up a few bottles.
We had the opportunity to ride the harvester that collected the olives, and then see how they get from there, to the mill and the dozens of steps that happen before the oil is bottled and on store shelves. We included some photos here, but there is more information on their site for Olive Oil 101.
I grew up often using rancid oil, and only through learning more about cooking, can identify that terrible smell. Kind of like…plastic? It is a smell you know immediately if you compare it to a truly fresh bottle. How long have you had the bottle you’ve been using? Do you keep it in the pantry, not right next to the hot stove? Olive oil is best stored in cool, dark places. Did you know that people take shots of it to help with inflammation and that it’s been known to bring cholesterol levels down, lower blood pressure, and improve bone calcification and mineralization? I just think it is such a fascinating product that we use without thinking on a daily basis.
I am partnering with California Olive Ranch to share a few olive oil recipes here over the next few months, so stay tuned.
The best part of all this, is that California Olive Ranch is giving away a YEAR (!!) supply of their new Destination Series extra virgin olive oil to a Sprouted Kitchen follower. Head over to our instagram page asap to enter!