After a relatively mild summer, the fall rains have arrived with conviction! Grove 45 picked our first olives on Monday, October 24, and even though this is weeks earlier than in the past, we are happy to report an abundant yield. Grove 45 gives considerable credit for our consistent yields and earlier harvests to the pruning protocol we put in place 5 years ago, faithfully executed by our only pruner, Bev Lincoln.
Our second day of harvest was interrupted by rain, then the sun came out for the third day and the rains closed us down again on the fourth day. Harvest was finally completed on Monday, October 31, just in time for us to don our Halloween best. In spite of all the interruptions, the fruit looks great and Grove 45 is tasting just the way we like it.
We are very proud to share that after three years of intense monitoring and inspections by the California Certified Organic Farmers (CCOF), our groves have once again received esteemed organic certification. Both Bonnie and Bev worked very hard to make this happen through impeccable farming practices and record keeping.
Grove 45 hosted many private tours and tastings this year, something we now offer between May and October by appointment for up to eight people. We have also been the staging point and rest stop for several cycling events, most notably for Chef Michael Chiarello’s Bottega Gran Fondo charity bike ride in April. We were honored to host over 500 riders and volunteers at the Grove 45 ranch for refueling during the race. DuVine Cycling and Adventure Company has also started visiting the ranch regularly as part of their Napa Valley tours. We love these opportunities to meet new people and spread the word about the great extra virgin olive oils being produced in California, especially Grove 45!
We are excited to once again be participating in the Good Food Mercantile Market in San Francisco on January 21, 2017. This is a wonderful opportunity not only for us to interface with other artisanal producers of fine quality goods, but also gives us the forum to meet prospective new customers as well as many of our existing clients. As a small producer we unfortunately can't visit all of our accounts around the country personally which is why we so relish this chance to meet our supporters whom we have only communicated with through email.
The new oil is now safely resting in the barn and will go to the bottling line the first week of January 2017. That said, our 2016 vintage will be ready for shipping by the end of January
Lots of great experiences for Grove 45 EVOO this spring and summer.
Our summer started at the Good Food Mercantile in Brooklyn. This prestigious and well-attended show draws approximately 100 artisanal food producers from around the country. It’s always fun to spend some time with our loyal customers, meet prospective ones, and see what is happening in the very creative world of artisanal food and farming.
In July Grove 45 visited our accounts in Boulder and Aspen, Colorado. Colorado is so beautiful…very green compared to dry California. We had a fantastic time in both cities meeting lots of wonderful people and sharing some exceptional meals. Notably “Oak” in Boulder and “The White House” in Aspen.
Our schedule this fall and winter will keep us busy and on the road a bit. October will find us in Portland, OR, November back to New York, and December working with several of our local Northern California accounts. We obviously enjoy getting out on the road and meeting the people who are selling and buying Grove 45 EVOO, but it’s true: there’s no place like home.
The groves look fantastic. The fruit set is abundant and fruit size good. Three years of drought have not slowed down production. We were able to irrigate on schedule and, maybe because of the drought, harvest will be even earlier this year. We have set a tentative milling date and will know more in the coming weeks as ripening continues. We really look forward to this year’s harvest!
Lots of travel in 2014! Grove 45 joined other top California producers in the California Olive Oil Council (COOC) booth at the 2014 Winter Fancy Food Show (FFS) in San Francisco, and again at the Summer FFS in New York City. Each show offered the opportunity to expose Grove 45 EVOO to a large number of oil enthusiasts on each coast. In January of this year, we participated in San Francisco’s second Good Food Mercantile, held at Dogpatch Studios. This was a much smaller show and gave us the chance to spend a little more time with each of you who stopped by. In addition to these shows, we put many miles on while attempting to visit the majority of our accounts around the country. It’s been great to see so many of you! It’s also great to be back home.
Four weeks ago we finished hand applying the iconic embossed pewter labels to 4200 of our distinctive Grove 45 EVOO containers. We are getting better at it every year (meaning fewer labels crooked and off center). This year we were fortunate to have the help of Nena’s daughter, Adrian, who did the heavy lifting while the two of us sat and labeled. It was fun having her help and surely made the job go faster.
It appears California is into another draught year. As we write this it is early March and 80 degrees here in the Napa Valley. Last month we had 5 inches of rain but many of the state’s farmers and ranchers still need much more. Fortunately, the irrigation reservoirs at our groves filled completely with this last storm.
The 2014/2015 Grove 45 EVOO has been shipped out around the country and while we still have this harvest’s oil available, we are grateful for the new orders that come in every week. We are so very thankful to all who continue to support our efforts, as we stay committed to producing the finest extra virgin olive oil from Napa Valley
2014 Harvest Report
At Grove 45, the 2014 harvest provided another bountiful year. We are grateful for our robust yields in a climate challenged with national news-making conditions.
Drought! It is very real, affecting every aspect of agriculture across the state, including predictions of a decrease in olive oil production. Luckily, the meager winter rains filled Grove 45's ag-water reservoirs with enough storage to exercise our routine irrigation schedule.
Being blessed with adequate water is not enough. Four years ago we instituted a new pruning regime to restructure trees that had been improperly pruned in the past. Our onsite pruner, Bev, has lovingly cared for our groves and they have responded to her consistent attention with increased yields of stellar quality.
Another industry-wide concern is the Olive Fruit Fly. At Grove 45 we began spraying organically certified material early in the season as soon as the daytime temperatures were above 70 degrees. We have zero fly damage.
Harvest began the first days of November. The fruit size was beautiful and ripening was even. Once again we processed our olives on both a stone mill and a blade mill at McEvoy of Marin. The resulting oil has bright fruit flavors with just the right amount of pungency and pepper on the finish - all the desired characteristics we want in our Tuscan field blend.
It is almost spring in the Napa Valley and yet winter just started. After months of unseasonably warm temperatures and dry days, we are finally receiving some much needed rain. The heavy pruning we did in the groves last winter has resulted in healthy new growth which we believe will lead to maximum quality and production this year.
Food and Wine Magazine
We are extremely honored to have been included in the April issue of Food and Wine Magazine. Starting on page 48 is a wonderful article about Oenotri restaurant in Napa and Grove 45 EVOO is proud to have been included on page 50 as one of the recommended extra virgin olive oils from Napa Valley.
E-mail from a Fan
"Nena and Bonnie - I wanted to compliment you on your amazing product and your attention to detail! I was recently in an olive oil store in La Jolla, CA. Of the masses, I chose yours because of my upcoming birthday, 2012, (yep, turning the old 45). I brought it home to Missoula, Montana, and tested it with my family head to head with a fine olive oil from Mallorca, Spain. In short, yours felt and tasted like a real ranch like product. I felt the simplicity in the processing and the adventure that went into your exquisite oil."
Bless you two ranchers of good flavor! ~ Brent
PS – the bottle alone has “ass kicking product” all over it"