Oregon Olives

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Oregon Olives

Oregon Olive Oil

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2014 @ Oregon Olives

Nov 26, 2014

 

The many colors of 100% Oregon Estate grown Olio Nuevo

 

Just a sample of the milling we have been doing here at Oregon Olives the past couple of weeks, as well as one California oil as a reference. All are 100% single varietal except where shown as a blend; all 100% estate grown and milled here in Amity Oregon; except the lone California grown and milled olive oil (center, with the olive), which is 2013 Arbequina from California Olive Ranch. No Dundee Hills flim-flam "Olioteca" for the marks here, only the honest truth of the matter!

 

Maurino 11/01/14 Arbequina 11/08/14 Maurino 11/14/14,

Leccino 11/10/14 CA Arbequina 08/28/13 Leccino 11/15/14

Heintz 47 blend 11/15/14 Frantoio 11/17/14 Lucca 11/19/14

David@OregonOlivesTrees.com

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Nov 19, 2014

 

When is the Oregon olive picking and olive oil milling season finished?

 

California wisdom has it that olives (the fruit, not talking about the trees here) can take temperatures down to 28 F or so, depending on development and oil content (the oil acting as anti-freeze). California millers are also not exactly clear exactly how much "frost damage" is tolerated at their mills. For example, McEvoy Ranch say they do not mill olives that are badly frost damaged, see: How Can I tell if my fruit is ready to pick?

 

So, we have had over-night lows down to 24 degrees twice now in the past week. The riper olives are definitely showing a large amount of frost damage. But interestingly, some of our cultivars that are late to ripen show hardly any damage. So, although they are green, we are an experimental bunch and decided to roll the mill again a few more times!

 

11/19/14 Kathy's Grove; Lucca olives in the mill. Fairly green, fairly free of frost damage, and still fairly hard. Oil yield of around 10%:

11/17/14 Kathy's Grove; Frantoio olives in the mill. Fairly green, fairly free of frost damage, and still fairly hard. Oil yield of around 10%:

11/15/14 Reken Estate; "Heintz 47" blend olives in the mill, mostly Amfissa, Santa Caterina, and Leccino. Somewhat still green, showing some wrinkling and signs of frost damage. Also, these sat over-night as we were prioritizing picking rather than milling. Moral of the picture - especially don't let ratty olives sit around and start decaying. Oil yield of around 7%:

11/15/14 Kathy's Grove; Leccino olives in the mill. These were picked right before the frosty nights, and are probably about as good of oil as we are going to get this year. Oil yield of around 8%, probably due to poor maxalation due to a small batch of olives (we were picking to beat the cold front):

Nov 30, 2014

 

The Art of Making Olive Oil: Blending

 

As far as I am concerned, after trialing roughly 100 different olive tree cultivars, I have a good feel for what will grow here in NW Oregon and what wont. So, the next stage of learning is about what olive trees have fruit that will make good product, either table olives or olive oil.

 

So far, Leccino is one of my favorite olive trees, both to grow and to pick and make into olive oil. It ripens early, and mills into an oil that has low bitterness and pungency with medium fruitiness and shelf life. Excellent for those first experiencing modern "condiment" extra virgin olive oil and all others who like a relatively mild oil (are you reading this Mom?). The same characteristics make it an excellent blending oil, and so today we are trying that out. This mill run was a mix of roughly 50% Leccino and 50% Taggaisca, another low bitterness and pungency fruit with mild fruitiness, especially to make a mild olive oil.

 

I don't consider myself anywhere near an excellent taster, and so rely of traditional California wisdom (gasp, choke, cough cough) for olive oil characteristics.

 

11/30/14 Blend of Leccino (dark) and Taggiasca (green) olives. Olive oil yield about 11 1/2%

Nov 27, 2014

 

The Holiday Cheer of Persimmons

 

Back when the olive trees first encountered zone 7 type weather (temperatures below 10 F), I got a little worried that we were "over the edge" planting olive trees here. So, I planted some Persimmon trees too. They look absolutely stunning in the landscape about now, totally defioiliated but bearing a good crop of beautiful orange fruit!

 

Unfortunately, the tree itself is rather weak, and subject to extreme damage fromn our winds. Especially just when bearing a heavy crop during the first fall storms.

 

Ah well! No perfect subtropical crop here on The Edge!

 

11/27/14 Hachiya persimmons, fresh off the tree on Thanksgiving Day. How appropriate!

Nov 26, 2014

 

The olive picking season continues here at Oregon Olives!

 

At least Stage 3 ripe: very few green olives, most all showing some deeper skin color and the majority are completely skin colored, and thus representing the start of main picking season olives (compare the coloration to those picked 11/15/14, see that date entry below). Oil yield was around 10%.

 

However, a lot of the olive tree cultivars are beginning to show serious cold damage. Some of the bigger fruited table olive types, which probably have less oil, were showing serious damage a couiple of weeks ago after the first bout of hard frost weather. Some cultivars; like the "super-Tuscans" Leccino and Frantoio, like oil type cultivars Taggiasca, Lucca and Picual, are still showing low levels of damage.

 

11/26/14 Kathy's Grove; 100% Oregon grown single varietal single Estate Leccino olives in the mill hopper:

By the way, the olive swimming in the California Arbequina oil is an Oregon grown Amfissa olive. You can also see pictures of each batch of olives as they are loaded in the mill, directly below and on the continuing page.

 

Nov 23, 2014

 

When is the Oregon olive picking season finished II?

 

Well, I'd have to say these olives from a Dundee Hills operation would not be acceptable for milling at my olive oil mill. Not to say they aren't acceptable for milling by others...

 

11/23/14 Photo credits to Danielle Peterson, "The [Salem OR] Statesman Journal", there captioned: "Olives are on display during the Olio Nuovo Festival at the Oregon Olive Mill of Red Ridge Farms in Dayton on Sunday, Nov. 23, 2014."

December 07, 2014

 

Still harvesting Oregon grown olives!

 

While the agro-tourism operation in the Dundee Hills has long since held it's end of the season "festa" (seeing as how all the California grown olives to be had were gone, and that is at least 98% of what they mill), the fact of the matter is this is probably the middle of the possible harvest season for oil type olives in Oregon.

 

12/07/14 Oregon grown Leccino olives holding up pretty good against the November frosts! Some shriveling, but very little actual cold damage and decay. However, olive oil yield was down to about 8%.

December 13, 2014

 

Last farmers in the field?

 

The general debilitation of the olives has started some natural olive drop, particularly Picual and Lucca. However, we are doing a good job of cleaning out the olives from the grove, and at this point there isn't much left besides a lot of slowwwly ripening Frantoio. We did pick all of the Coratina and some Leccino and Lucca today to make another blend of olive oil. An interesting fact: the olive oil yield has dropped even more, and is around 5% Other possibly related facts:

 

The olives were dripping wet - the first time we have picked wet olives. Californians don't pick in the rain.

 

The olives were fully hydrated - hardly a wrinkle to be seen (see below for picture of olives in the mill hopper). Which implies they may have adsorbed a lot of moisture. Which means the percentage yield of oil drops.

 

When olives wrinkle, it implies the olive cell walls are leaking fluid. Certainly water but also possibly oil (you can feel a slight "gummy-ness" on some of them. The recent rainy period may well have then washed off any such leaked olive oil.

 

12/13/14 Oregon grown Coratina, Leccino, and Lucca olives. The riper ones are generally Leccino, the green ones generally Lucca, with Cortina lying in the middle of the spectrum:

December 23, 2014

 

New record high olive oil yields today!

 

We picked and milled some of our home estate olives today, with a yield of around 13% olive oil w/w! A new high record yield for us!

 

The olives are still in pretty good shape. as you can see below. Interestingly, whatever slight damage they had from the hard frosts of November has scabbed over such that there is no decay in the olives.

 

We have been doing a pretty good job of cleaning out the olives from the grove, with Frantoio being one of the last to ripen (as expected. Remember that the Frantoio you heard about being milled in the Dundee Hills were brought up from California, and even so were milled earlier than I have ever heard being done there). We will be cruising the groves, seeing what we have left, and may do another mill run when the weather breaks again.

 

Or maybe not. Time is flying by, it's almost a new year, and we are starting to get a lot of people (already!) enquiring about buying olive trees in 2015. There comes a time to just shoot the farmer in the field and move on, eh?!

 

12/23/14 Kathy's Grove 100% Oregon grown Frantoio olives picked and milled today:

December 29, 2014

 

As Dark as dark can be.

 

I picked some Kalamata for dark ripe table olives today. Except, I decided to be different (what else would you expect from me?) and make them into Dry Salt Cured Table Olives . May be the last olives picked this year - gotta do something different with them!

 

12/29/14 Kathy's Grove 100% Oregon grown Kalamata olives picked today: