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Growing Olives, Meyer Lemon Infused Olive Oil and California Fires.

Capay Valley Ranches, Capay Valley, California

Photo courtesy of CV Ranches

 

As I meet more and more partners each month, I am noticing some trends. I am meeting a lot of family owned businesses that go back generations, and we are also meeting new adventurers who are embarking on new paths for themselves. Chris Steele, of Capay Valley Ranches, is the latter. He had a long successful career in real estate development in the Sacramento area. After he retired he and his wife Sharon, both of whom grew up near Esparto, decided to get back to their roots. They bought land in the Capay Valley, built a house and planted about 100 acres of trees. That was ten years ago. Now Chris is a full-fledged and highly sought after olive grower. 

 

Chris Steele of Capay Valley Ranches

Photo courtesy of CV Ranches

 

If you’ve been getting our boxes, or have been following my blog, then you know that the Capay Valley is the perfect location for growing olives. It has some of the best soil in the world, and excellent weather conditions. But Chris really has the touch. Capay Valley Ranches focus on soil first. They make sure the soil has all the nutrients it needs before planting any trees. And their business model is not to produce olive oil, but rather to grow olives for others. Not a tree gets planted until there is a buyer for the olives. Now that is a long term relationship, because olive trees don’t produce fruit until the third year after planting. 

 

Olive Trees, CV Ranches

Photo courtesy of CV Ranches

 

In ten short years they have planted hundreds of acres all over the Capay Valley and there is such an interest in organic (yay!) olives that they recently planted over three hundred acres of organic olives. So much for retirement! 

That makes the Meyer Lemon Infused Extra Virgin Olive Oil in the September Farm to Fork in a Box a real prize. You can’t buy this anywhere but in our boxes, or online at CVRanches.com and a few small specialty stores listed on their website. Their oils are small batch, and award winning. We especially like the lemon infusion. It’s subtle, without tasting artificial and gives a nice little surprise at the finish. Watch our video on how to taste olive oil, you can try it at home. 

 

Love and Olive Oil Recipe Photo, CV Ranches Meyer Lemon Infused Olive Oil Sugar Cookies

Photo courtesy of CV Ranches

 

This olive is so versatile, which is another reason why we love it. Try it on crostini, with ricotta, comb honey and lemon zest for a quick appetizer. It’s wonderful drizzled on ice cream, trust me, just try it. Of course it’s great on salads and grilled veggies. And Denise Andre, head of the olive oil and marketing at CV Ranches, opened up our world to baking with it. Here is a recipe developed for CV Ranches by Love and Olive Oil for Meyer Lemon Olive Oil Sugar Cookies. I mean, yum!

 

Denise André of Capay Valley Ranhces

 

Denise gave my husband and I a tour of one of the ranches in late August. It was just after the LNU Lightening Complex fire raged through the area coming dangerously close to the olive trees. That fire is still burning as I write this, although it’s 97% contained. Three weeks later the air is still filled with smoke in the valley and all across California, Oregon and Washington. If you are not from California it’s probably difficult to grasp the magnitude of the fires, the difficult aftermath of devastation and daily air quality that is deemed unhealthy to breath. But more than that, California produces a tremendous amount of produce to not just the country but to the world. If we lose these farms and ranches it will be devastating. We are so relieved that all of our Yolo County partners have come out relatively unscathed from this round of fires. We Californian’s know fire and earthquakes come with living here but most of the people I've met wouldn't trade it for anything else. Just know the heart that went into making that bottle of olive oil and really taste how good it is.

 

Enjoy!

 

LNU Fires at CVRanchesLNU Complex Fires at CV RanchesSmokey air from LNU Complex Fires at CV Ranches
Photo courtesy of CV Ranches

 

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