Two Grumpy Goats and Award Winning Olive Oil
Coratina Olive Oil featured in our July Farm to Fork in a Box is as unique as the Grumpy Goats Farmers that created it. Olive trees have been cultivated for over 6000 years in the Mediterranean, where 95% of olive resources come from. The Mediterranean is famous for its growing climate which is characterized by its mild winters and hot dry summers. Guess where else has a climate like that? You guessed it, Northern California. Most olive oil producers take the route of easiest to produce and easiest to harvest. Think Manzanillo or Arbequina. Not Grumpy Goats Farm, in Capay California...from day one they decided to pick robust, challenging olives that produce unique flavors. Their choices in varieties reflects who they are as farmers wonderfully.
Pamela came from a high-tech project management background in Silicon Valley, and Stuart still dabbles in contracting in the affluent Oakland Hills. The combination of Pamela’s planning skills and Stuart’s mechanical handiness have proven to be a perfect combination for creating award winning olive oils. In 2008 they took the leap and bought 20 acres in the Capay Valley, about 35 miles west of Sacramento, California. Neither of them were experienced in farming, but they each had legacy and passion. Pamela comes from a family of Norwegian and German farmers, some of whom migrated to this country as far back as the 1800’s. Stuart has a deep connection to nature from his family's legacy. His grandparents helped manage national parks in the Sierras for decades. Together they have a passion for good farming practices that led them to farming organically using good conservation practices and to develop wildlife habitat. When they bought the acreage in Capay, it was a dry patch of dirt. Now it is home to not only 17 acres of olive groves, but song birds, jack rabbits, and pesky voles.
Here’s the thing. Their first crush...novice farmers, mill their first harvest, send it off to competitions, as you do when you make olive oil, and they walk away with awards their first year out. Impressive to say the least. More so that they are an organic farm. We love this olive oil because it is peppery and robust, much like Pamela and Stuart. In fact, the name of the farm, Grumpy Goats Farm, was an unanimous vote by their friends that know them. They are two grumpy goats that are well suited to farming and olive oil making.
I love that Pamela and Stuart still have a little Silicon Valley in them and they go to great lengths to provide scientific details about their olive oils. If you are less about science and more about flavor, here is what you need to know. The Coratina olive oil variety can be used just like you would any fine extra virgin olive oil. It has a fresh taste, with intense notes of grass and it’s got a peppery kick at the end. Perfect for drizzling on heirloom tomatoes, or a mushroom crostini. The taste will immerse you in the origins of Puglia, Italy, land of majestic olives. If you want to compare this olive oil to others you have on hand, do a tasting at home. Find out how here.
We visited Pamela and Stuart on their farm in beautiful Capay in Yolo County and made this video about them and their farming practices. If you need to get out of the house safely take a little road trip to one of the charming towns in Yolo County and explore. Visit Yolo has some great resources on their website of things to do. While Grumpy Goats Farm isn’t opened to the public there are many places that host tastings from wine to olive oil.
We proudly feature this excellent organic extra virgin olive oil in our July Farm to Fork in a Box. We think it's pretty special. When you have a chance, explore some of the other varieties Grumpy Goats makes. If you'd like to meet the makers, watch our video.
Meet the Farmer - Pamela Marvel of Grumpy Goats Farm