Scenes from 2017 Olive Harvest

<img src="2017 olive harvest.jpg" alt="award winning California extra virgin olive oil">
Rancho Azul y Oro's Mission Blend Olive Harvest
Photo courtesy of Brian de Haaff

 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.
<img src="2017 olive harvest.jpg" alt="sorting the olives for harvest">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.

<img src="2017 olive harvest.jpg" alt="the family behind Rancho Azul y Oro">
Stuart and the de Haaff young men
Photo courtesy of Brian de Haaff

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

<img src="2017 olive harvest.jpg" alt="the family behind AyO">
The family behind Rancho Azul y Oro
Photo courtesy of Brian de Haaff

Can it be that this family is so truly color coordinated?  No.  We all know now to wear dark burgundy or purple clothing the day of olive harvest. 

<img src="2017 olive harvest.jpg" alt="ready for lab tests and certification">
The 2017 Mission Blend Extra Virgin Olive Oil

After friends and family departed, the bins were cleaned, the oil was returned to the ranch the next day and the business of all of the paperwork began for certification of the oil.  Once that was completed and the oil was taken to the lab for testing and submitted to the California Olive Oil Council for certification, preparation began for the next day of olive harvest, on November 17th.

The crews arrived at sunrise on a cold, damp and rainy morning.  In fact, it was one of the only days of rain we have had this season.  Yet, the olives were going to be picked.  This was a very late harvest due to weather conditions and by the week of Thanksgiving, the threat of frosts and hard freezes looms.  The olives are washed at the mill anyway, so unlike grapes, water does not hurt the quality of the oil.

<img src="2017 olive harvest.jpg" alt="sorting the olives for harvest">This harvest included the 2017 Arbequina, Frantoio and Coratina olives.   The crew on this day included our wonderful neighbors and a guest appearance by my brother, all the way from Alaska.  We worked a long day, enjoyed stories about our pasts -- some things we'd never heard -- kept each other from falling asleep or passing out and pushing until we hit the goal line of that last bin coming in and sorting them until each bin was completed.  The truck was loaded and we were off to the mill again and arrived by 5:00.  The half-ton bins were off-loaded and we bid our olives goodbye and headed out for our celebratory dinner, this time at Berry Hill Bistro.  The next time we would see the olives (tomorrow morning), it would be olive oil.

<img src="2017 olive harvest.jpg" alt="sorting the olives for harvest">
The last bin of the 2017 olive harvest to be sorted.

<img src="2017 olive harvest.jpg" alt="neighbors help sort the olives for harvest">
Thank you so much to our family and friends for helping us through our largest olive harvest!

Our gratitude would not be fully expressed unless we also thanked the incredibly hard-working labor crews who picked in cold and damp weather, close to the end of their work year, and as always to Gregg, Audrey, Susan & Cain, who got our milling done despite an ever-changing schedule due to weather and who always treat our olives the way they would treat their own.  They are the best that there is and we thank them.

We are fully into bottling and getting that olive oil out to our loyal fans.  We cannot wait for you to literally taste the fruits of our labor.

Happy 2018!

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