It is olive harvest at McEvoy Ranch. This ancient process, now integrated with modern science based farming practices, fully respects tradition. The olives are hand harvested and milled within hours of picking. Many of the off flavors and flaws in olive oil result from the olives degrading while waiting to be milled. We make estate oil and that never happens to McEvoy olives.
Maurizio Castelli, the Italian consultant who first advised Nan McEvoy on planting olives, continues to be involved with the Ranch. He travels to California from Tuscany several times a year to advise and to celebrate the harvest. If you have visited the Ranch, you know that our hospitality staff is very well informed, not only on the history of Nan McEvoy and the Ranch, but on farming and production practices as well. When Maurizio is in town, staff trainings are scheduled to share his extensive knowledge and experience. He also shares the joyful spirit that integrates olive oil and wine into the Tuscan culture and ours too.
On a recent training day lemon olive oil was being milled. We were able to taste the fresh oil straight from the spigot. It was bright and unfiltered – essentially lemon olio nuovo. The aroma was stunning and it tasted divine.
Lemon Olive Oil
Maurizio and group
The little sample I brought home found its way onto some late harvest figs.
I grilled the figs briefly to caramelize that jammy interior, then drizzled the lemon oil and sprinkled some flaked sea salt. There are still a few late harvest figs around – some Brown Turkey and some Mission varieties. If you have the opportunity, this three ingredient treat is memorable. If you missed the figs this year, you can look forward to the early harvest in 2019. Make a new year’s resolution not to miss it!