Harvest is here! Our California olive harvest is the culmination of another year of hard-work in the fields, but for some it’s just the beginning. Mary Mori and Bob Singletary are our master blenders, and we caught up with them to learn about their roles during harvest, and more!
What is your role?
Mary: Director of Technical Services. I run the lab, quality, blending and innovation departments. During harvest my focus is on blending our oils, testing and tasting the quality of the oil we make and deciding on where oils are segregated and used in blends. I am our master blender for all our products to ensure we provide a consistent taste in every bottle you buy.
Bob: During harvest I am the day shift milling operations manager/Head Miller. These responsibilities are very important to the production of the highest-quality extra virgin olive oil. Our quality is dependent on many factors that the milling team focus on every minute of the day. My position as Head Miller means I am responsible for employee safety, close coordination with our quality control department, and most of all being dedicated to producing the highest-quality extra virgin olive for California Olive Ranch.
What’s your favorite part about harvest?
Mary: Working in agriculture is such a fun job to have. I grew up around agriculture and knew that I wanted to be in it when I grew up and had a career. The excitement, fast paced environment and family we create in the business is truly what I love. Harvest is what has brought us together as a family at work and I cherish that with the relationships I have with everyone I work with. The crazy schedule, quick timing, and being at work more than at home can be crazy at times but that is what makes us a family. This is what agriculture is all about; the community and family coming together to get the job done and working together as a team to grow a phenomenal food that will last until the next season.
Bob: The excitement of getting the mill ready for the harvest. The pre-harvest focus in getting our new crew to understand their milling duties is critical to our success during harvest. The excitement of seeing that first load of olives come down our driveway is difficult to explain. I have been in this position with our company for 13 harvests and I get such a rush of excitement when our mill is ready to perform!
What is your favorite fall dish to cook?
Mary: Too many to decide! In the fall I love making turkey pot pie or soup with a good robust fresh Limited Reserve oil to sauté the vegetables or finish on top of a delicious soup. I also love to bake for the holidays using our Mild & Buttery olive oil to make bread rolls and chocolate chip cookies.
Bob: I am really old school when it comes to fall dishes, I really enjoy soups and stews during the colder months of the year. They just seem to keep the house warm and full of great aromas.
What is your favorite COR oil?
Mary: My absolute favorite oil is one we haven’t even released yet! We hope to in the next few years, we have been testing out some new orchards. The varietal is Sikitita. It has a great taste with awesome floral and tomato notes and a medium pungency and bitterness. I love it as a medium oil that can be used with baking and salads and still give a great taste without over powering the dishes I make. My next favorite that you can find in our products is our Miller’s Blend. I love the flavor notes from Arbosana with the floral herbal notes, the kick of pungency we get from the Koroneiki, and the buttery notes from Arbequina. This is in my opinion our perfect blend showcasing the positive notes of each varietal to be balanced and complex. I love using this in sautéing vegetables and making a lite snack of popcorn at home. Overall I use this on just about everything I make.
Bob: There are actually two oils that make my harvest season. First is our selection of Limited Reserve. There is so much work that goes into the final selection of the special oil that most people in our company don’t realize. This final selection is where our quality control and milling team really shine. The second oil is always in my heart. The Miller’s Blend oil is something I have worked on from my early days with California Olive Ranch. The selection of oils and percentages of each oil to make a final product with the most complexity is my favorite time of the harvest season. When we have the opportunity to present these two oils to our customers we always get the WOW factor. This is so rewarding to the crew that has worked so hard to present the excellence of our product.
Follow along with us throughout harvest @caoliveranch