happy wednesday! mercury retrograde on mercury's day and all is well. tiny bits of snow are intermittent and it's so quiet. i'm thinking about the end of this retreat and the immediate return to the sunshine and warmth. this week i came across an organic olive oil producer in ojai and wanted to share them with you. right now they have online ordering and a presence at the ojai farmer's market. they only offer same year oil and use permaculture and biodynamic practices on the ranch. their long term vision is one of stewardship and the oil itself is fantastic.
i am trying one of their infused olive oils next. read about how they do it here.
any oil they have leftover from the previous year gets reincarnated into their small and luxurious cosmetics line.
have you tried their oils and do you have favorites? i'd love to know what they are. here's what they have to say about their sustainability practices below.
"Part of making a delicious product that we can be proud of is operating in harmony with the land that produces our olives. The best olives come from healthy trees, and the healthiest trees live as part of a strong and vibrant ecosystem. Traditional agriculture isolates crops into artificial environments, where they are pumped full of chemical fertilizers and doused in pesticides and herbicides. Farming organically is a key first step, and does wonders for improving the quality of the fruit. There is much more that can be done beyond this though, and each additional step adds benefits and strength to the ecosystem, and thereby to the olives. Synergistic crops that help feed the fruiting trees, animals that help with fertilizing and pruning, composts and compost teas made of local plant life, beneficial insects that protect fruiting crops and promote pollination... there are a multitude of elements to a happy and sustainable ecosystem. Farming in a way that takes all of these elements into account is known as 'permaculture'. Permaculture is a branch of ecological design, which develops sustainable and self-maintained agricultural systems modeled from natural ecosystems. The Asquith Ranch and Ojai Olive Oil are among few examples of a working permaculture farming operation in southern California.
Olive trees love Ojai's Mediterranean climate, and they thrive here, but there is still always work to be done. Each year begins with a pruning, to trim back the previous year's overgrowth and make space for the new season's olives. Olives will only form on new growth, so pruning properly is a key component of the process. Winter winds can also uproot trees that get too tall, and overgrown trees won't have as much energy to devote to fruit formation. By spring the olive trees begin to flower, and we get our first glimpse of the season ahead. The spring bloom turns to baby olives in early summer, and by fall we can tell how many olives we'll be harvesting, and how well formed the fruit is that year. Harvest time for olives is always late fall-early winter. We generally pick from mid October to mid January, with most of the fruit being picked and milled in November/December.
We pick all of our olives by hand, allowing us to be more selective in what fruit is being harvested. This also allows us to pick at the same rate that we process, keeping the time from tree to mill to an absolute minimum. After being picked, the olives are carried over to the barn, and immediately poured into our olive mill. The mill's first step is a 'hopper', which cleans off any loose debris like leaves and twigs from the olives. The olives are then taken into the 'crusher', which pulverizes the fruit, pits and all. The resulting dark purple paste is directed into large mixing containers, where it is slowly churned for about half an hour. This allows the droplets of oil to find each other and coalesce, while the crushed bits of pit attach to the fruit, skin and water. The final phase is the oil separation, which is done by centrifuge. The contents of the mixers is rapidly spun, allowing the lighter olive oil to exit at one end, while all of the other, heavier elements of the paste exit the centrifuge at the other end. And voila! We have the season's new extra virgin olive oil.
Olives are clearly something we have a lot of, so by offering the olive oil we make to our community, we are able to support our ongoing efforts to develop our permaculture vision and support our family. We thank you for supporting this vision and for supporting your local farmers! And remember, since only 1% of the olive oil consumed in the US is actually made in the US, and virtually all of that is made in California, even if you live in Florida we are your local olive oil farmer :)"
this post was not sponsored by ojai olive oil