When you think about quality olive oil, Italy or perhaps Spain come to mind. Chances are good that Oregon, that misty state in the Northwest corner of the U.S., doesn’t. But Oregon Olive Mill is changing all that by producing flavorful extra virgin olive oil that favorably compares with any olive oil made in Europe.
The Oregon Olive Mill is the brainchild of the Durant family, long-time Oregon farmers who own Red Ridge Farms in the little town of Dayton, about 30 miles southwest of Portland. This part of Oregon in the verdant Willamette Valley is renowned wine country and Red Ridge Farms is home to the Durant Vineyards Tasting Room, gourmet retail shop, and nursery. It’s also the location of the family’s 13,000 olive trees and their state-of-the art Italian olive mill that’s capable of processing 1,000 pounds of olives per hour.
Oregon Olive Mill grows several olive varieties, including Argequina, Leccino, Mission, Pendolino, Koroneiki, and Picual, among several others. They also purchase olives from groves in Northern California so they can blend for distinctive flavor profiles. This boutique olive oil miller bottles their oil weekly to ensure maximum freshness.
We sampled Oregon Olive Mill’s Trio Stack of Virgin Olive Oils. This ingenious bottling system allows them to nest three 50 ml. bottles of different of oils, Arbequina, Koroneiki, and Tuscan, into a single “bottle.” Take the wrap off that binds the mini bottles and you have three individual bottles. It’s a wonderful way to sample different Oregon Olive Mill’s oils and compare them side-by-side so you can find the oil(s) you like the best. This trio stack would also make a terrific gift.
Arbequina Extra Virgin Olive Oil– This oil is made from 100% Spanish Arbequina olives. It’s a fragrant oil with a genuine olive profile with complex flavor notes that finish with a light peppery note. We love this oil and know it would be outstanding as a dipping oil for freshly baked rustic bread or drizzled on fresh greens or vine ripe tomatoes with a bit of sea salt.
Koroneiki Extra Virgin Olive Oil – This oil is pressed from 100% Greek Koroneili olives. This herbaceous oil has a pronounced olive flavor with a medium pepper finish. We’d love to cook with this oil, using it with fresh herbs over Northwest salmon.
Tuscan Extra Virgin Olive Oil– This is an oil that blends three Italian olive varietals: Leccino, Frantoio, and Pendolino. This grassy oil has a robust, earthy flavor with bitter notes and a strong pepper finish. We’d cook with this oil, using it with meats and other ingredients that can stand up to this assertive oil.
You can taste and purchase Oregon Olive Mill oils at their tasting room in Dayton.For a small fee, you can arrange for a private tasting and tour of the facility. You can also purchase their olive oils online. If you’re a fan of good quality extra virgin olive oil, you won’t be disappointed. – Bobbie Hasselbring, RFT Editor