Sean McEntire (our oil maker) and I are working together in the frantoio today and we are very excited about making citrus-infused olive oil from our own organic olives and citrus.
For the past few years we have been talking about making a citrus-infused olive oil, but we never felt we had the right combination of fruit ripeness and availability. We also wanted to wait until the end of the season just in case something went wrong with our new process. Well, we are at the end of the olive harvest and we will only be making some soap oil tomorrow.
So, today we are midway through processing our first batch of citrus olive oil. The frantoio smells simply fantastic with all of the lemon zest in the air.
Courtney and Marilu picked about 175 pounds of our own Bearss limes from a tree at our residence yesterday afternoon. And, we added about 50 pounds of Meyer lemons from Frank and Beth Leed's ranch. All organic, of course.
Bearss limes are unusual in that they are yellow when ripe and contain very few seeds. (They originated in Tahiti.) Yet, while they look like lemons, the distinctive smell and taste of lime is extraordinary. Meyer lemons are similarly intensely flavorful. So, we are expecting a very wonderful oil.
The fruit was cut in half and then added to the olives just prior to going on the crushing stone. We doubled our crush time on the stones until the citrus became very well mixed with the olive paste. Then, it was on to the malixer where the paste was kneaded and lightly warmed prior to going through the decanter.
Out the other end of the decanter our newest product is now arriving.
Wow! We have just created a wonderfully zesty, fresh new oil. Imagine LMR Citrus Olive Oil drizzled on wood oven-roasted asparagus. . . and whatever else Sheamus dreams up.
We are making some amazing olive oil this season.
And, what an unusual season it has been. Our yields are more than double the yields from our previous highest year. And, we are still harvesting in January (only twice before have we harvested this late). Furthermore, we may be only halfway through our crop at Long Meadow Ranch. So, another ten days of picking are probably required.
We started picking in our oldest olive orchard yesterday, which has traditionally been the source of our exclusive Prato Lungo oil. The oil is just amazing: soft, almost sweet, with hints of tropical fruits and even honeydew melon.
We are blessed to have inherited this orchard from our original pioneer, E.J. Church. Imagine planting these hillside orchards with cuttings from around the Horn in the early 1870s. The trees were lost in the forest for more than sixty years and then we restored them to health over the past fifteen years. Incredibly, the trees (still an unidentified culitvar despite multiple DNA test) make truly world-class olive oil. We are the very lucky benefactors indeed.
Sean McEntire, our olive oil maker, and I are immensely enjoying every afternoon as we sample the lots of freshly made oil. Yesterday the oil seemed more like an elegant drink than a condiment. We can't wait to share it with our family, friends, and fans.