Milling at McEvoy Ranch
We offer three different options for olive milling each harvest season to meet the needs of small, mid and large-scale growers. We understand that the weight of your crop will be an estimate - please find the category below you feel best describes your projected crop. Olives should be harvested approximately 24 hours prior to scheduled milling date.
Please consider bringing a non-perishable food item with you to McEvoy Ranch to donate to our Redwood Empire Food Bank collection barrel!
Dates: FALL 2013 DATES TBD
Quantity: 1 – 400 pounds of olives
Our Community Milling Days are an opportunity for small growers to combine their olives to create a truly local blend. We mill Tuscan fruit in one batch and all other fruit in another; the amount of olive oil you receive is commensurate to the number of pounds you contribute (no amount is too small!). Pre-registration is required. Note: Severe storms can postpone date(s). Check back for 2013 details and registration information.
Dates: FALL 2013 DATES TBD
Quantity: 401 – 2000 pounds of olives
Individual private batches for crops estimated to weigh 401– 2000 pounds will be milled on these days for pre-registered customers. Fruit must be delivered to McEvoy Ranch between 6 am and 7 am the morning of your scheduled date (alternate time would need to be pre-arranged). Pre-registration through completed contract is required; space is limited. Please complete and return the milling contract - check back for the updated 2013 version.
By Appointment Only
Quantity: 2000+ pounds of olives
Private millings for high-volume crops estimated to weigh 2000 pounds or more can only be scheduled by completing and returning our milling contract - check back for the updated 2013 version. Once received, we will contact you to finalize a mutually agreeable date.
FREQUENTLY ASKED MILLING QUESTIONS
How can I estimate the number of pounds my crop may produce?
Take photos of your cropped trees and take notes each year that you can refer back to for subsequent harvests. A 5-gallon bucket can hold about 25 lbs of fruit.
How do I know if I have Tuscan or non-Tuscan olives?
If you do not know the variety of your olive tree, we will include your fruit in the non-Tuscan blend. We may be able to help you identify your olive tree when you come to mill your fruit but the surest way to determine the cultivar is through DNA testing. Agbiolab is our only local lab that will conduct this type of work.
How can I tell if my fruit is ready to pick?
To pick for oil production, wait until the olives soften somewhat. Color can help guide your decision but the softness of the fruit is more indicative of oil accumulation. If you can squish an olive between your fingers easily and the juice feels oily (not just watery), then it is ready to pick. In general, fruit that is more red or purple (more ripe) will produce less pungent oil, fruit that is less red (more green, less ripe) will taste more pungent. See the UC Davis Maturity Index for more information on color development.
How can I determine if I have damaged fruit (frost, fruit fly)?
Fruit that is healthy will be green, red or purple. Brown skin or flesh indicates decay. Olives can sustain some frost and will simply shrivel a little. As long as the flesh is fresh and not brown, the fruit is acceptable to mill. We do not mill olives that are badly frost-damaged (see below). If your fruit is deteriorating due to frost damage, it is not suitable for high-quality oil production. You may bring your olives on Community Mill Day for evaluation.
The female olive fruit fly lays her eggs in the fruit, leaving the larvae to eat its way out of the olive. The tunneled fruit deteriorates quickly, leaving oxidized oil and rotten flesh. See these two articles by Paul Vossen at the Sonoma County Extension Office for more information and pictures on the Olive Fruit Fly.
How much oil can I expect my fruit to yield? What might the flavor and look of it be?
Olive oil yield varies according to varietal and ripeness of fruit. In general, expect an average of 80 lbs to yield one gallon for a typical varietal picked in late November.
Any fresh oil will taste pungent, including the oil from the Community Milling Days. Olio nuovo (new oil) will taste its strongest right off the mill. As the oil ages, the flavor will mellow. If you prefer a milder tasting oil, you can pick later and let your oil rest for a few months, allowing the flavor to soften.
New oil will be very green and cloudy with sediment. Oil that is not consumed immediately (within two months) can be racked to remove the solids; the solids are not harmful but can make the oil less stable. To rack your oil, let it sit undisturbed for a month and then pour the clear oil off the top. Use the oil with sediment from the bottom first; the clearer oil will keep longer.
Do you sell harvesting equipment?
Picker pails with harnesses ($35) and 40 lb lugs ($25) are available for sale at McEvoy Ranch. Call Samantha Dorsey at 707.769.4123 to make an appointment to purchase these items before harvest. Samantha can also suggest sources for orchard ladders, harvest bins and other harvest supplies.
Do you have information on where I can buy or sell olives?
The Olive Oil Source has an online forum for olive fruit transactions.