Alta Cresta completed their 2015 olive harvest late last week. The weather forecast was for rain, but the weather held off and the harvesting crew was able to collect all of the olives in a timely and orderly fashion. All of the olives were handpicked to ensure the quality of the fruit and the olives were milled within a few hours of picking to optimize the flavor and freshness of the olive oil.
The olives were in perfect condition this year and allowed to ripen a couple of weeks longer than the prior year. This produced a slightly milder olive oil, but retained the peppery finish that is so sought after in premium olive oils. The yield was very good with a total production of over 11,600 pounds of olives from Alta Cresta Orchard’s 1,148 trees (average 10 lbs. of olives per tree). The Extra Virgin Olive Oil produced from this year’s harvest is as follows:
The “Tuscan blend” varietals of Leccino, Frantoio, & Pendolino produced 5,559 pounds of olives and yielded 170 gallons of EVOO.
The Coratina varietal produced 5,589 pounds of olives that yielded about 148 gallons.
A little over 525 pounds of Leccino olives were harvested and milled separately and that created about 24 gallons of Leccino olive oil.
The next steps leading up to bottling are chemical analysis of Alta Cresta’s EVOO to ensure that it meets the high standards for California EVOO. Then a sample of the EVOO is shipped off to the California Olive Oil Council (COOC) for additional testing including taste testing. If all the COOC parameters are met, then we will receive the COOC Certification for California EVOO.
The orchard at Alta Cresta is blessed with trees that have been perfectly pruned in the Italian style to produce high olive counts, excellent fruit quality with very little fruit fly activity. And, the weeping tree shape allows for easy harvesting by hand with little to no fruit damage. The orchard is located on a South facing slope on the warmer East side of Paso Robles which contributes to the creation of superior fruit. Thus, with all of these factors combined, Alta Cresta Olive Oil is among the best EVOO available from California.
Cheers and enjoy!