The Ojai Olive Oil company welcomed the VIVA GLAM team into their special olive getaway last week and effectively blew our minds. We had no idea just how much went into growing olives and how many different specimens and types of olive trees there were. The Ojai Olive Oil Company has 40 acres of land which houses over 7 different types of olive trees, 2,000 trees in all.
There are older trees, having been planted originally on the property in 1898 (100 years before it became the Ojai Olive Oil Company). Though well over a hundred years old, these trees are still considered young, as olive trees can live for up to 5,000 years.
Tim, the groundskeeper at Ojai Olive Oil gave the VIVA GLAM Team a tour around the lands and facility, and we were blown away at how beautiful everything is there. The trees are perfectly pruned, as it is essential for olive trees to stay pruned to grow olives, as they need direct sunlight to grow. We learned that the olives all start green and change from red to purple or blue to black as they mature into black olives while others stay green even when they ripen. Usually, 30% green and 70% colored olives is the best mixture used to create olive oil.
While walking us across the beautiful green land filled with desert hills, and, of course, flourishing olive trees, Tim explained to us that olives are cyclical in nature. This means that they grow annually on a specific cycle. Usually, Ojai Olive Oil Company harvests the olives at the end of October, but a particularly bountiful harvest can continue through the end of January as long as the olives don’t frost. From there, they have around 25 long days of milling on average, as once the olives are picked, it’s imperative they be milled very quickly (usually 3 hours after picking).
One bin of olives creates about a gallon of olive oil. After the olives are harvested, they get sifted through to remove any dirt and bugs. Next, they get put into a crusher. From there, the crushed olives are put into a centrifuge. The oil from the centrifuge then goes into a barrel unfiltered for a natural racking process. There, it sits for about 2 weeks before the oil is ready.
The Ojai Community
What stands out the most about the Ojai Olive Oil Company is their kind, small-town nature. They are a part of the Ojai community, so they look out for their neighbors. The Ojai community takes things back to a simpler time where communities worked together- something we could all use in our towns today. They have a small vegetable and fruit garden that the workers and owners can eat from, and they will trade or just give the vegetables and fruit they grow to the community of Ojai. They also take the olive branches that have been cut off the trees and trade them to local craftsman for a day’s work. The community of Ojai really takes things back where people would work together and trade their talents. That sense of bonded community we felt in Ojai and at the Olive Oil Company really touched us.
The Standard Olive Oil Blends
The olive oils offered at the Ojai Olive Oil Company have a smoke point of 425 degrees, so they are great for cooking whether you choose the standard blends or the infused blends. All of the olive oil coming from here is Extra Virgin Olive Oil, meaning it has to be tested and reach certain requirements. Extra virgin olive oil keeps its nutrients during the process of making it, as no heat is added to it at any time. So, its molecular structures doesn’t change throughout the entire process.
We were lucky enough to get to sample all of the oils and balsamic vinegars offered at the Ojai Olive Oil Company, and we LOVED this incredibly unique experience.
They have 3 Main Blends of Olive Oil, and this year they had a special signature olive oil, as well, as the harvest was especially plentiful last year.
The Provencale (a blend of Columella, Cailletier, Nocellara del Belice, Arbequina & Arbosa olives) is smooth with just a little bit of the classic peppery taste at the end. The Tuscan (a blend of Frantoio, Leccino, Pendolino, Maurino & Arbosana olives) has a very metallic taste at the front with a classic pepper taste after. And the Andalucian (a blend of Lechin de Sevilla, Hojiblanca, Koroneiki, & Arbequina olives) was similar to the Tuscan with more character up front and slightly more kick at the back. Their signature blend this year had more character and spice than the Provencale while still having just a little more of a kick to it.
Types of Infused Olive Oil:
The infused oils were incredibly delicious. The Rosemary Infused Oil added a sweetness to the process. There was also Basil Oil, Lemon Oil, Thyme Oil, and many other delicious flavors available. Perhaps, my favorite was the East End Herb mix, as it added a mixture of 5 different herbs- rosemary, garlic, oregano, thyme, and basil. It tasted like pizza sauce, and it was delicious!
Types of Balsamic Vinegar:
We tasted the different Balsamic Vinegars the Ojai Olive Oil Company offered, as well. They were surprisingly sweet and delicious. Their vinegars come from Modena and been aged 18 years. I’ve never been a big fan of oil and vinegar as a salad dressing, but Ojai Olive Oil Company actually changed my mind on that. They inspired me to begin putting Balsamic on many things (and cooking with it, too). The Raspberry and Peach Balsamic Vinegars were deliciously sweet and taste great on ice cream. The Fig is perfect for a summertime salad with fruit and nuts. But perhaps the most delicious of the vinegars had a very unexpected taste. The Espresso Balsamic Vinegar was my favorite. Somehow, it tastes just like espresso while still having a sweet, standard Balsamic taste. I purchased the Espresso Balsamic and have been cooking everything in it and using it as a bread dip and a salad dressing. I highly recommend you try this one over the rest!
They even have face creams infused with olive oil that I encourage you to try. I tried the unscented one, and it felt so nice on my skin. I use it daily, and it moisturizes my skin while keeping it still feeling smooth, which is rare for me. And it doesn’t irritate my sensitive skin, either.
All in all, our visit to the Ojai Olive Oil Company was incredible. Not only did a learn a lot of interesting information, but I also left hooked on products that I will be using for years to come.
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