My daughter and I just visited the McEvoy Ranch, an olive farm producing organic olive oil among other products. McEvoy is committed to producing their products in the most sustainable, handcrafted way possible, from using local sheep to trim back the grass to composting all of their waste to fertilize their orchards. As you will see in our photos, the grounds are absolutely gorgeous, too!
We learned a lot about the production of olive oil as well as how to taste the differences in oil. It’s not just a matter of the types of olives you grow or when you harvest them, you can also change the flavor with the type of milling equipment you use, the way you store the oil before it is blended and bottled, and how long stores or buyers hold onto it before it is consumed. In that sense it is a lot like wine, even though most people might not think of it that way (technically, it’s a fruit juice). Unlike wine, olive oil is always more flavorful if you use it soon after it was bottled.
McEvoy makes style of olive oil that originated in Italy’s Tuscany region, and we found that their oil tasted very fruity and spicy. It was not all at like the ordinary olive oils we’d used for sautéing at home. If you get to taste an artisan olive oil, you’ll want to find flavors that are fruity, bitter, and pungent.
I would highly recommend going on their tours, you can see McEvoy’s 2009 Olive Oil Ranch tour schedule here. Have fun and enjoy!