Late last year we took a short two-day road trip and we spent a night Ojai. We had never been there before and my husband thought it’d be nice to visit an olive oil ranch and learn about the olive oil making process. If you’ve never been to Ojai Olive Oil Ranch I highly recommend you go. It is a family owned ranch and the owner is an older woman who spoke with the most beautiful french accent and gave a very thorough presentation to a group of us on how olive oil is made. She talked about the growing, harvest and production process in great detail and even walked us through the barn where the olives are poured into an olive mill where it’s first step is the “hopper” where all leaves, twigs and any debris gets cleaned off. Then the olives are taken into the “Denocciolatore” where the pits get removed and the fruit is pulverized. The paste is then poured into large containers where it is churned for a while. Then drops of oil start to join and the crushed bits of fruit and skin begin to separate. This is where the magic happens! The separation process is helped by the decanter where the the mixing process continues, leading to the paste exiting the container through a spout on one end and the olive oil through the other end resulting in extra virgin olive oil, also known as liquid gold! The leftover paste is then used to make a rich compost that will be used to fertilize their olive trees. The precious liquid gold is then decanted and filtered and then prepared for bottling. Pretty amazing stuff if you ask me .
What I love about these oils is that they are 100% organic and you can tell that the farmers put great care into the growing, harvesting and production process . They make infused oils too. Basil, Lemon, Garlic to name a few. They also have deliciously flavored balsamic vinegars as well and they offer the opportunity to do some olive oil tasting too. There is a room where they have all their oils and vinegars displayed and a bowl of bread where you can help yourself to a slice or slices and go around the room dipping your bread in the different oils and vinegars. I had no idea there was such a thing as olive oil tasting…lol. I’ve heard of wine tasting but this was a welcome surprise. The kids even enjoyed it.
Now if having the best testing olive oil and vinegar wasn’t enough, I could almost hear the angels sing when I came across their line of homemade olive oil soaps, lip balms and face creams. Seriously, could this family road trip to an olive oil ranch get any better? Needless to say I couldn’t leave without picking up a few goodies to bring home. I love that their beauty stuff is made with pure and natural ingredients. Nothing harsh or toxic about their products at all.
So if you are heading towards Ventura County anytime soon, be sure to stop by Ojai Olive Oil Ranch and learn all about their olive oil making process and feel free to hang out and do some oil tasting too. 🙂