A pickup truck. A load of olives. A flat tire and missing lug nuts. The Olive Drop Olive Oil
story was almost stopped before it even got started. The history surrounding Olive Drop Olive Oil is both deep, compelling and rich
. Just like our olive oils and vinegars.
We purchased our home and the land with 100-year-old mission olive trees in 2005, but the home was built back in 1895. Producing our own olive oil came to mind, so after some research I found an established local producer and asked them some questions. They opened up their hearts to me and showed me everything from the trees to the harvesting and we did every single thing they told me to do.
The mission olive trees start out with a big, brilliant green color and then turn dark purple on the inside and black on the outside when they're ready to harvest in the winter. It felt like things happened overnight because soon after, about 90% of the olives were black. My crew was ready to harvest them and I had my truck, trailer and bins ready to go. When I went to hook the hitch up to the truck, it didn't fit so my workers helped me fix that. Then we realized the tire was flat on the trailer, so we had to lift it up, remove the tires and get them checked and fixed. Then we got them put on and got the truck ready to go because the olives needed to be at the press by 3 p.m. that day.
When I got to the press, the man who unloaded them couldn't believe how I drove there because all of the lug nuts on the tires had come off. I didn't think about the weight on the truck before we left, so I've always said God carried us to the press. Aside from those issues, it was a great experience to see all of our hard work turn into something so beautiful.
When the oil comes out of the pipe and it's this golden-colored olive oil, it's such a great feeling. They tested it and let me know it was extra-virgin and because I hadn't gone to school for this yet, I asked if that was a good thing and they let me know it was very good.
I've always been a believer that you can learn a lot from people that are older than you because they've been in the business and already gone through the steps you're going to go through. So I took my bottle to Darrell Corti because I wanted his opinion and the only suggestion he had was to add “Estate Grown” to my label.
Since I was starting out in the olive oil business, he told me I needed to take the olive oil course at UC Davis and had his assistant enroll me immediately. I didn't realize that he was the one that taught the course, so a lot of things fell into place for me at the time and I was fortunate enough to go down the right path.