California Sourdough Bread

Yield: 1 LoafAuthor: Kathryn A. KeelerPrint Recipe Sourdough Bread ingredients:
1 cup sourdough starter1/2 cup water2 tsp. salt3 cups flour instructions:
In bowl of mixer, combine salt, bread and flour; mix on low with paddle attachment, just to combine; Add starter/water mixture and mix on low until a shaggy dough forms; cover bowl with plastic and let dough rise in warm place for 10-24 hours;Turn dough on to floured surface; form rectangle; fold over three to four times; with floured hands, form ball; cover dough loosely with plastic and allow to rest one to two hours or until doubled in size; Preheat oven to 450; after pre-heated, put Dutch oven (with lid) in oven to preheat for 30 minutes to an hour.  Transfer dough ball to Dutch oven; cover with lid; Bake for 30 minutes; remove lid and bake 15 more minutes or until golden brown;  bread internal temperature should be 190-205.Transfer bread to wire rack to cool completely before slicing; NOTES:Sourdough starter should be fed three to …

2018 Olive Harvest -- What Worked, What Didn't Work 😀😩

AyO's 2018 olive harvest began at sunrise on Saturday, November 3, 2018.  While much of the world and California's olive market is suffering from a poor olive crop this year, for whatever reason, that is not the case here.  This should have been our alternate producing year (I was looking forward to a year which included some time off), but even with our ten largest trees not producing, we will eclipse last year's production.  Of course, the worrier in me is thinking, "OMG, how many olives are we going to have in our big production year, next year???" 😱
We are so fortunate to not only have family and friends and neighbors help us with the sorting, but since olives must be milled within 24 hours to begin the EVOO certification process in the U.S., we do hire crews to come in to pick the olives, so between the crews and the sorters, in our minds, the entire pick was going to get done in one day.  We were even tracking the bins real-time.

Our milling appointment was…

2018, Overcoming Challenges 😖

We know.  We are very bad on posting updates on our blog, but updates and recipes are posted on our Facebook page daily (, and by daily, we mean daily, as well as Instagram and Twitter.

So the question remains, what have we been doing?  We started the year attempting to expand to deal with our largest olive harvest ever.  It takes time to get our oils in for EVOO certification, formulation time for the flavored oils, working on approved labels to meet the new Food Management Act, as well as creating our other products, marketing, bottling, as well as all the exterior farm work, pruning of the grapevines, pruning a couple hundred olive trees, racking all of our wines, getting all the olive oil in for competition -- the list is endless.  With two people working on the farm, something usually suffers in attempting to check off all of those items on the To Do List.   Despite resolutions to get out of the barn, take time off and have fun, that was …

Scenes from 2017 Olive Harvest

Yes, yes, we hear it every year.  Where are your pictures from olive harvest?  Harvesting got in the way, then Thanksgiving, then EVOO certification, the dog ate our homework, Christmas -- and here we are.
In order to be certified extra virgin quality olives, the olives must be picked, sorted, and milled within 24 hours and must be of the highest quality.

Our olive harvest was split up into two days this year, November 10th and November 17th.  The first olives harvested were the Mission, Pendolino and Leccino olives.  We have a professional crew come in to pick the olives, who arrive at sunrise to pick, and our Day 1 crew consisted of family, including our daughter-in-law, grandchildren and my cousin and her husband, and wonderful friends.  The olives were at the mill, ready for milling by 5:00 p.m.  A wonderful dinner was enjoyed at Paso Terra after dropping off the olives for milling.

A couple photos of the family at the mill when the olives were being delivered to the mill.

Can it…

Are You the Kid Tap Dancing While Soccer Balls are Flying Around You?

There has been quite a lot written about being that girl on the right.  The last few of our blogs have had an underlying theme about vision, being in a class of one's own, and thinking outside the box.  There have been many people throughout history who have been that person on the right that were hugely successful -- Steve Jobs, to mention one name.  However, many people who were that person on the right believed in themselves and never really knew success.  Van Gogh, for instance, only sold one painting during his life.

Our ranch is located in a virtual sea of grapevines and wineries.  We, too, make wine -- but only for fun or maybe just to annoy ourselves.  When we decided to do something commercially, we thought, "Let's be different than everyone else.  Let's grow something that no one else on this canyon is growing, olives."  The olive oil soon followed.
While there is one winery on our canyon that sells olive oil, their business is wine.  We are the lone …

Achieving Excellence or Flying Too Close to the Sun? 🙈 #EVOO

You might be looking at the above picture and thinking, "Wow, look at that, Gold, Gold, Gold, Best of Class, Best of California."

But we are reviewing our 2016 vintage and thinking, "How can we improve?  How can we do this better?"  What do we hope to achieve?

For one, we hope to spread the word about our oils and how they can be used daily.  We can emphatically say that they are quality oils.  We work to get every detail right, from growing to harvesting, to selection of our mill, to formulating, to labels, to bottling, and then growing that enthusiasm about using olive oil daily and encouraging our family and fans to spread the word.

One of the glaring areas of improvement as the creator of our flavored oils is that one silver medal.  If you know us, you'll know that silver is better than bronze, but we want this oil to have a gold medal -- not because we want medals, but because we want to offer the absolute best that can be offered.  This oil in past yea…

Proper Storage of Olive Oil - Do As We Say, Not As We Do

I was recently asked by a friend what the best way to store olive oil is.  Of course, my eyes wandered over to the sight above, the numerous bottles of EVOO filling our counter top.  Pretending I was not seeing what was across from me, I proceeded to provide her with the following information about what can diminish the quality of the olive oil:
LIGHT:  Keep your olive oil away from light (natural or otherwise).  Store in a dark cabinet or closet to prevent exposure;  You will notice that in the worst case scenario above, the olive oil is directly in the light.HEAT:  Keep your olive oil away from any source of heat.   Again, you will notice that in the worst case scenario above, the olive oil is directly next to the stove.COLD:  Do not refrigerate or freeze.AIR:  Seal your bottles of olive oil tightly.  Do not store your oil with pourers left in the bottle.  Air can get in even more quickly through pourers.  If air gets into your oil, it can cause it to break down more quickly and bec…