Our 2011 Harvest: A More Robust Olive Oil & Good Weather (So Far)

It’s harvest time. So we visited our Artois ranch in northern California. There, we climbed aboard one of our olive harvesters to hitch a ride with Adam Englehardt. Adam heads our farming operations. As we rumbled through the olive groves, Adam told us this year’s olive crop is even better than last year’s. The olives are producing oil that has a bit more robust flavor profile. Plus, Mother Nature is providing plenty of sun. Perfect for robust olive oil.

robust olive oil
Photo by Terry McCarthy www.tmcphotography.com

“It’s scaring me it’s so good,” Adam said of the weather. “So we’re going to rock and roll here while the weather is good.”

Our harvest began a little more than two weeks ago. Rain delayed our crews a couple of days. The clouds then parted. We’re picking olives at our three northern California ranches. We own 5,000 acres of olive trees. And we operate another 7,000 acres under contract with outside growers.

Photo by Terry McCarthy www.tmcphotography.com

Adam’s goal: Wrap up the harvest by the end of November. We need to beat the frost, which can damage the olives. “I’m shooting to be done by Thanksgiving,” Adam told us as we watched the harvester pick the olives and deliver them into a tractor-driven wagon adjacent to the harvester.

Adam and his team are putting in 12-hour shifts. They harvest olives day and night, 24 hours a day. Our harvesters are fitted with lights, so the drivers can see where they’re going no matter what time of night.

Consequently, Adam and his crew will be burning the midnight oil from now through the end of November. “I get home at 11 pm and I go to work at 4:30 am,” Adam said.

We asked Adam about the quality of this year’s olive crop. He gave two thumbs up, explaining that the trees are producing a lighter crop. Consequently, the olives are ripening more evenly.

“It’s maturing more uniformly,” Adam noted. He also said this year’s olives are yielding oil that’s “a little more intense than last year.” (Olive oil aficionados refer to such oil as more “pungent.”)

That robust quality means you can expect this year’s oil to deliver a little more of a peppery tickle in the back of your throat. That will be noticeable soon when we bottle and ship our Limited Reserve extra virgin olive oil next month. It’s the freshest oil we produce, and goes straight from the olive press into the bottle. (Click here to join our VIP Mailing List to be notified when our Limited Reserve will be available.)

We’ll keep you posted on the harvest. Meanwhile, we’re keeping our fingers crossed – and an eye on Mother Nature.

Bon appétit,

Your friends at California Olive Ranch


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