I visited Willow Creek olive farm in the pretty Nuy Valley on the week end with a few others to get up close and personal with olives, to see how they are grown, how they are harvested and how the oil is made.
What an interesting experience it was.
We were taken on a tour of the olive groves and witnessed their new olive harvesting machine in action. Impressive stuff! One machine shakes the olive tree vigorously on one side, whilst another machine catches the olives that fall off on the other side. This dramatically increases the productivity around harvesting, which had previously been done 100% by hand.
Willow Creek grows a variety of cultivars of olives. Some are used to make table (eating) olives, and others are used to produce extra virgin olive oils.
We then walked through the production facility, getting an overview of how the olives are pressed and processed in their initial stages.
This was followed by a very interesting tasting of four single cultivar olive oils: Mission, Frontoio, Favoloza and Corotina. Similar to a wine grapes, each has particular characteristics, which when blended create a beautiful symphony of flavour, delivering consistency to the blends year on year.
There is much confusion in the market around olive oil and imported olive oil and as consumers are not always buying what we think we are buying. In a fairly unregulated industry, not all ‘extra virgin olive oil in is fact extra virgin, and many of the brands we buy are of a lesser grade, often rancid and the oil has not been extracted in a natural way as the label may lead us to believe.
Find out all about these and other olive oil related questions here.
I for one am going to feel more confident buying a local oil vs an unknown imported oil. I want to know that what is claimed on the label is in fact what I am buying.
Now when it comes to a brilliant product, its not only about the contents, its also about the packaging, and Willow Creek have just launched something very, very special.
The Gourmet squeeze bottle.
It looks just like a glass bottle, keeps the olive oil as well as a glass bottle, but is better than a glass bottle….because:
- it doesn’t break like a glass bottle
- you can squeeze it like you cant do with a glass bottle
- and it has the niftiest innovative pouring spout that only allows as much oil through as you squeeze, and that you cant get in a glass bottle
Isn’t this just perfect?
Willow Creek are launching this at The Good Food & Wine Show which kicks off tomorrow.
Visit their website to check out their opening times and any other information you may need.