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<b>One Stop Shopping: </b><b><a href="http://www.theolivepress.com/">The Olive Press</a><br /></b> Located inside <a href="http://www.jacuzziwines.com/"><b>Jacuzzi Winery</b></a> (and just down the

street from the dip-and-nibble mecca, Viansa winery in Sonoma), it's

easy to dismiss the raffia-ribboned, sample-bar charm of The Olive

Press as tourist fodder. Which would be a mistake. Co-owner <b>Deborah

Rogers </b>is one of the most lauded and respected olive oil producers in

California and the Press is a bonanza of hard-to-find, small-production

local oils made on-site.<br /><br />

Two of the earliest champions of Northern California's Olive Oil boom,

Rogers and business partner <b>Ed Stolman</b>, recently relocated their milling

operation from Glenn Ellen to the higher-trafficked Carneros region.

Rogers continues to make her private label, <b>Marquessa,</b> a bold blend of

old and new world olives and Stolman's, <b>Lunigiana,</b> has taken top prizes

in Italy and Spain -- a bold oil with plenty of bitterness and

throat-tickling pepper. <br /><br />

For olive oil enthusiasts, Rogers also bottles a handful of varietal

olive oils, from the grassy, fruity <b>Sevillano </b>(one of the most

approachable dipping oils we tasted), to the lusty <b>Koroneiki,</b> a Greek

olive variety under the Olive Press label. Best-sellers, however, are

her growing lineup of flavored oils -- clementine, <b>Meyer lemon</b>,

jalapeno and most recently, lime. Citrus zest is crushed along with the

olives to infuse, rather than just flavor the finished product. You can

taste many of Roger'soils, as well as offerings from her clients,

including microproducers Beltane Ranch, Stone Edge and Napa's Cypress

Hill. Go to The Olive Press in Sonoma (24724 Arnold Dr., Sonoma,

800-965-4839) or the Oxbow Public Market (644 First Street, Napa).<br />

<br />

<form mt:asset-id="572" class="mt-enclosure mt-enclosure-image" style="display: inline;" contenteditable="false"><img alt="davero.jpg" src="http://www.biteclubeats.com/davero.jpg" class="mt-image-center" style="margin: 0pt auto 20px; text-align: center; display: block;" width="456" height="304" /></form><b>The Legend: <a href="http://www.davero.com/">DaVero Olive Oil</a><br /> </b>Ridgley Evers has some strong opinions about olive

oil, which he's never shy about sharing. One of a handful of olive

growers behind Sonoma County's artisan oil boom, Evers and his wife,

chef Colleen McGlynn, have made a career out of meticulously

understanding the nuances of flavor, balance and timing when it comes

to their oils. The 4,500 trees on their Dry Creek property trace their

heritage from a handful of saplings they imported from Lucca, Italy (a

Tuscan region with weather much like Sonoma County). McGlynn and Evers,

who counts chef <b>Mario Batali </b>among his admirers, can be found most

weekends selling their oil at local farm markets and are in the midst

of converting their estate to biodynamic farming principles. Their

flagship EVOO has all the qualities of a great California olive oil --

fresh grassiness, a mild bitterness and a sneaky pungency. "Three

coughs are a compliment," says Evers. Tours, classes and tasting:

davero.com or (707) 431-8000.<br />

<br />

<b>Mom & Pop: <a href="http://tbvevoliveoil.com/">Terra Bella Vista Olive Oil Co</a>.<br /> </b>A true mom-and-pop venture, this

growing Bennett Valley orchard is a labor of love for Doug and Judi

Webb. The couple have gone from harvesting just a few hundred pounds of

olives in 2004 to 5,300 pounds in 2007. Each November they gather

friends and family to assist with the harvest and immediately head for

the press, Olivinio in Hopland (also used by DaVero). Tours, by

appointment, (707) 586-3777 or tbvevoliveoil.com.<br />

<br />

<b>Mondo Mendo: <a href="http://www.stellacadente.com/">Stella Cadente Olive Oil</a><br /></b> Mendocino fave Stella's basil olive

oil recently won big love at the Fancy Food Show in San Francisco, put

on by the National Association for the Specialty Food Trade every year

in January. Though herb-flavored oils sometimes just mask low-quality

oil, Stella's bright, fresh-basil flavor doesn't overpower the flavors

of the oil. (800) 305-1288 or stellacadente.com.<br />

<br />

<a href="http://www.skipstoneranch.com/">Well-kept Secret: </a><b><a href="http://www.skipstoneranch.com/">Skipstone Ranch</a><br /></b>Small-production Alexander Valley olive oil with a

very fresh, green flavor.  Fahri Diner and Jill Layman, who own the

property mainly devoted to steep hillside vineyards, take advantage of

550 Manzanillo olive trees planted there. Available online at

skipstoneranch.com.<br />

<br />

The Big Boys: <b><a href="http://brcohnoliveoil.com./">BR Cohn</a><br /></b> Winemaker Bruce Cohn's grove of French Picholine olives trees,

planted in the late 1800s, inspire the soft, buttery flavors of their

Sonoma Estate extra virgin olive oil. Available at the winery, 15000

Sonoma Highway, Glen Ellen, (800) 330-4064 or online:

brcohnoliveoil.com.<br />

<br />

<a href="http://www.drycreekolivecompany.com/">Young guns: </a><b><a href="http://www.drycreekolivecompany.com/">Dry Creek Olive Company</a><br /></b>This recent entrant into the local olive oil

scene has impressed even the toughest critics with their approachable

and well-made oils. One of the few mills with a granite press (the

large circular stone wheels that crush the fruit), Dry Creek mixes

olives from local growers, their own estate and does several infused

citrus oils. Best bets are the cheeky Healdsburg Blend and refined

blood orange and Meyer lemon oils. Want a taste of the harvest? Olio

Nuovo is a green, grassy and fruity blend. Tasting room and mill at

4791 Dry Creek Road, Healdsburg, (707) 431-7200. <br />

<br />Dry Creek also mills for a number of small, local producers, including

<b>El Poeta </b>(available at the Dry Creek General Store), a strong, earthy,

lusty oil that just about knocked our socks off. <br />

<br /><a href="http://mcevoyranch.com/html/index.php">Gold Standard: </a><b><a href="http://mcevoyranch.com/html/index.php">McEvoy Ranch</a><br /> </b>McEvoy has become the gold standard for Northern

California olive oil making. Even competitive olive oil producers get a

little wistful when describing the painstakingly designed property and

state-of-the-art Italian equipment used to mill their mild yet complex

extra virgin olive oil -- the one and only oil they produce. The ranch,

based in Marin county and owned by newspaper heiress Nan McEvoy, boasts

nearly 18,000 trees over 550 acres. It is a private residence, but will

be open for tours on Mother's Day and Father's Day weekends and

occasional dates throughout the summer. Reservations are required. 5935

Red Hill Road, Petaluma. More details at mcevoyranch.com or (707)

778.2307. <br />

<br />Want to learn more? <b>The "Beyond Extra Virgin" Conference</b> will be held

at the CIA Greystone and UC Davis from June 21-23, 2009 the largest

conference on olive oil quality ever held in North America. The

Culinary Institute of America at Greystone is located at 2555 Main

Street, St. Helena. More details: <a href="http://www.cooc.com/events.html">www.cooc.com/events.html</a><br />

<br />

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