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…

In a Class of Your Own? Why Your Vision Matters.

Can You See Our Vision or Does Smoke Get in Your Eyes?
In the olive oil business, we are always looking for innovative ways olive oil can be used, which leads to creative thinking as to what type of olive oil to create in the first place.  Many producers offer the basics, an EVOO, a citrus olive oil, and an herbed olive oil. A few blog posts ago, I quoted George Patton, who said, "If everybody is thinking alike, then someone isn't thinking."

We are one of the smallest olive oil producers amidst a sea of large olive oil producers, so we need to distinguish ourselves from the rest of the producers, try harder, work faster, and visualize concepts others have not yet tried.  Many times, customers ask what can be made with our oils.  We provide suggestions on our Facebook Page as well under "Mealtime Inspiration" on our blog page, but there are times when some just do not understand our concept.

Such is the case with our smoked olive oil.  We began testing this oil …

AyO Wins Three Medals in Napa + Our Mid-Year Resolutions

We're pleased to share that Rancho Azul y Oro has been honored with three medals in the Napa Valley Olive Oil Competition: A Silver Medal for our Estate Extra Virgin Olive Oil, a Silver Medal for our Orange-Infused Olive Oil, and a Bronze Medal for our Lemon-Infused Olive Oil.

With this announcement comes the end of our competition year, a full-court press to finish bottling and labeling, taking advantage of every opportunity to market and share the oil with you (Translation: Buy Olive Oil).

This stage also causes us to review and reflect upon how we can improve things next year, call it our New Year's in May:

Avoid rookie mistakes:  Review established procedures each year and follow them to avoid errors we made when we were newbies that shouldn't be happening.  Most mistakes happen when we're in a hurry and there is a price to be paid for haste.Refine and Rework:  Crafting recipes to infuse olive oil is rocket science, combined with art, as are many businesses.  If s…

Central Coast Olive Oil Competition Results and Update

We got word late last week that we received four awards from the Central Coast Olive Oil Competition.  We were awarded a Silver Medal for our Estate Extra Virgin Olive Oil, a Silver Medal for our Lemon-Infused Olive Oil, a Bronze Medal for our Orange-Infused Olive Oil, and a Bronze Medal for our Smoked Olive Oil.

We are attempting, ourselves, to make sense out of the inconsistencies between the different judging panels.  The O/C member of our team reviews results with the plan of doing things better each year, and scrutinizes every fact provided but just cannot reconcile the results.  Some might suggest we ought to just celebrate the 12 awards we've received this year, with an additional two Best of Class Awards, but yet, we are left SOH (shaking our heads), as they say.  There are producers who submitted and did not win awards, so we are thrilled that, on the whole, all of our oils are award-winning.

So, what mountain is left to scale this year?  One of the BIG competitions, Napa.…