Our master miller, Bob Singletary, has been crushing olives and making olive oil for more than three decades. Lately, Bob has been sampling the oils made from the olives we gathered last fall. Like a winemaker, Bob also blends these oils to create just the right flavor of extra virgin olive oil. These oils will be available soon. We asked Bob what it takes to get the new oil ready for release.
How do you blend the oils made from various olives gathered during the harvest to achieve the desired taste?
Blending totally depends on an individual customer’s preference – be it consumers, or chefs and others who special order our oil. In general, we have very intense oils, and the selection process is usually based on when the olives were harvested. The earlier the oil is made during harvest, the more intense and pungent that oil is. During the blending process we select different oils from the same olive variety to establish a more complex flavor profile. Oils made at different times of the harvest have flavors ranging from intense to mild.
Each of these individual oils has its own excellent flavor characteristics, and when identified and blended together the best of all qualities come together. Not only do we do single varietal blending to obtain maximum flavors, but we also take the best of each variety – Arbequina, Arbosana, and Koroneiki – and create our Miller’s Blend. This blend has all of the best flavors that each type olive variety has to offer.
What type of taste are you trying to achieve with each of the oils – Arbequina, Miller’s Blend, Everyday Fresh and Arbosana?
Each style of oil has a totally different flavor profile. The Arbequina for retail consumers has the fruity and intense flavors characteristic of olives picked early in the harvest. The Miller’s Blend combines the best early harvest oils available. The Everyday is very fruity, but the end-taste profile is mild and not so robust. The Arbosana generally is made at one time and the importance of selecting the exact time is critical to having a well balanced oil. If you are too early on this, the flavors are green and harsh and take time to settle out. This selection of when to harvest the olives is important with all varieties, but especially the Arbosana and Koroneiki.
Aside from blending the oils and removing the excess solids and sediment during the racking process, what else keeps you busy when it’s not harvest time?
The racking and blending process take up a lot of my time. I also supply oil to our bottling line and the line we use to package our oil in our bag-in-a-box. Both lines require different oils at different times. Being a part of California Olive Ranch (COR) is exciting, because we’re growing quickly. There always is new equipment being installed that we use to mill the olives and make the oil. We have to review that equipment beforehand. This season we’ll be installing three complete lines of equipment to make and bottle our oil. The coordination of equipment arrival and installation before the harvest is very exciting. I’m very fortunate to have colleagues who are young, very intelligent people. COR has a great team spirit, and the excitement is always there.
Your friends at California Olive Ranch