The 2016 Epic Olive Odyssey

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Trust staffers Kevin McGarry (l) and Sue Udden (r) picking Italian variety olives. Photo by Mike Imwalle.

by Michael Imwalle

On October 22nd, a group of twenty-five volunteer pickers joined Santa Barbara Trust for Historic Preservation staff to harvest the 2016 Santa Inés Mission Mills olive crop. SBTHP staff, board, and community volunteers gathered on a mild Saturday morning to pick the Italian varietals Arebequina, Lucca, and Grappolo variety olives. Santa Inés Mission Mills Agricultural and Maintenance Supervisors Leeann Haslouer and Tom Walton spearheaded the effort that yielded almost 1000 pounds of olives. On Wednesday October 26th, a team of professional pickers picked the Manzanillo and Mission varieties in the Rasmussen and Mill groves.

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Barbeque lunch for volunteers prepared by Tom Walton. Photo by Kevin KcGarry.

By the end of the week we harvested almost four tons of olives. On Friday October 28th, the folks at Figueroa Farms crushed our olives into 120.9 gallons of Extra Virgin olive oil. That converts to almost 120 cases of 12 – 12.5 oz bottles.  The following Monday, the oil was delivered to Olivos del Mar for storage and bottling. The first forty cases were bottled as our 2016 “Olio Nuovo” or new oil. Olio Nuovo is the first press of the season. It is bottled unfiltered, immediately after crushing, and has an intense grassy, peppery fresh flavor. It is loaded with polyphenols making Olio Nuovo the healthiest oil available from each harvest.

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The first forty cases of Olio Nuovo being delivered to El Presidio de Santa Barbara State Historic Park gift shop. Photo by Mike Imwalle.

Produced from a blend of Arbeqina, Grappalo, Lucca, Manzanillo, and Mission olives, this special early release is available for a limited time. This year’s oil has been delivered and is available today! Order yours online here, or pick some up in the museum shop at El Presidio de Santa Barbara State Historic Park. It sells for $15.00 retail ($13.50 for SBHTP members).

For more great photos from Olive Picking Day 2016, visit our Flickr Album here.

Michael Imwalle is the Associate Executive Director for Cultural Resource Management at the Santa Barbara Trust for Historic Preservation. 

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