Frantoio Grove

History


Eleven  years ago when we decided to plant 30 acres of the farm with something, the obvious choice was grapes. My family had grown grapes in Yolo and Napa counties since 1870 and my mother and brother are currently growing grapes in Sonoma County at Tobylane Vineyards. The soils and Mediterranean climate were perfect, the experts assured me of the future success of the vineyard. So naturally I decided to grow olives. The property the olives are planted on is destined to become a permanent open space and I could think of nothing more permanent (or more beautiful) than olives.

The first step was to decide what style of oil to make. The vast majority of oil produced in California is made from Spanish varieties. Either the old growth canning olives (Mission and Sevillano) now converted to oil production or the modern varieties of Arbequina and Arbosana grown in high densities on a large scale. Both styles produce mellow more buttery oil, soft in flavor.  There are currently 50,000 acres planted to this style in California.

As a small producer, it made no sense to compete on their style of oil so I kept looking. The most interesting oil on the market to me were the Tuscan blends. These oils tend to be more pungent and peppery and, in my mind, more interesting. It was suggested that I consider growing an orchard using a single variety. After much research and tasting of varietal oils we decided on the Frantoio (Fran-toy-ō) variety and then planted Frantoio Grove in 2005.

Although I had always been fascinated by my grandmother’s stories about her grandfather’s farm near Davis in Yolo County, I had only recently discovered that he grew olives.  Since olives live for hundreds of years, I thought it would be great to see the trees. We took a trip to the farmhouse and there next to the house was one of the grandest groves of olives I have seen in this country.  These are the trees pictured for this website.

It is with more than a little pride that we revive a family tradition started by Hugh M. LaRue in 1867 in Davis, Yolo County California.

About This Years Oil


The olives were hand harvested in November 2016. As each bin filled with olives, they were delivered by tractor to our olive mill, now located on site and milled within minutes of picking!  The professional taster's comments are: An oil with lots of bright green notes, both in the aroma and taste, having flavors of artichoke, cinnamon, grass,hay straw, and butter.  Experiment freely! Use it on salads of mixed flavorful greens or mixed vegetables.  Perfect at the table for baked potatoes, pasta, tomatoes, rice, hearty soups, boiled beans, cooked vegetables, grilled vegeatbles or your morning toast!

Extra Virgin


The most frequently asked question is: what does extra virgin mean? It's a fair question because the range of answers is all over the board. The International Olive Council, The California Olive Council and the USDA all have defined it as follows:

1. It meets a specific laboratory analysis. (see Technical stuff below) These tests are designed to detect oil that has been heat extracted, adulterated , mishandled or oxidized. And
2. It passes a taste test by a certified panel of trained tasters. Olive oil will fail at one (or both) of the methods if it has been mishandled, adulterated, oxidized.

FRANTOIO GROVE is certified Extra Virgin Olive Oil by the California Council of Olive Oil.

Storing


The fresher the oil, the better the oil. This may not be true with wine but it is true for oil. Olive oil's enemies are light, oxygen and heat. Frantoio Grove is bottled in dark glass to help protect it from light. Bottling will be done in small batches and the bulk oil is stored in an oxygen free environment. If you keep your oil in a cool dark place, it should be good for 2 years from the milling date. Truth be told if you are reading this, you care about your olive oil. Buy what you need for this year then buy next years oil, next year.

Technical Data 2016 Harvest


Primary chemical parameters for the determination of extra virgin status.

 

  USDA/IOC COOC EVA Frantoio Grove
Free Fatty Acid < 0.8% < 0.5% < 0.5% .2%
Peroxide Value < 20 < 20 < 15 7.2
K232 < 2.5 < 2.5 < 2.5 1.806
K270 < 0.22 < 0.22 < 0.22 0.0119
Delta K < 0.01 < 0.01 0.002
Polyphenols       372

IOC – International Olive Council
USDA – US Department of Agriculture
COOC – CA Olive Oil Council
EVA – Extra Virgin Alliance

 

Retail Locations






Bi Rite Market
"Public Label"
3639 18th Street
San Fancisco, CA

Bi-Rite Marke
"Public Label"
550 DivisaderoStreet
San Fancisco, CA

Clos La Chance Winery
1 Hummingbird Ave.
San Martin, CA

Cheese Plus
2001 Polk St
San Francisco,

​CL Olson Cherry Stand
​348 W. El Camino Real
Sunnyvale, CA
 
Draeger's Market
342 First Street
Los Altos, CA
Draeger's Market
1010 University Drive
Menlo Park, CA
​Andy's Orchard
​1615 Half Road
Morgan Hill, CA
 

Healdsburg Shed
25 North St
Healdsburg, CA

LJB Farms
585 Fitzgerald Ave
San Martin, CA
Market Hall
1786 4th Street
Berkeley, CA
Market Hall
5655 College Ave
Marketplace @ Rockridge
Oakland, CA
Guglielmo Winery
1480 E Main Ave
Morgan Hill, CA
Roccas Market
13335 Monterey Rd
San Martin, CA
 

Meraki Market
927 Post Street
San Francosco, CA
Solis Winery
3920 Hecker Pass Hwy.
Gilroy, CA
   
Maison A
17511 Monterey St
Morgan Hill, CA
 
All Things Olive
Farmers Markets
Washington DC & Maryland

Olives 'n Oil
Little Elm Farmers Market
Little Elm Town Crossing
(Hobby Lobby Parking Lot)
2700 Eldorado Parkway
Texas

Verdigo Coffee
81 4th Street
San Juan Bautista, CA

Olive Connection
1426 Beacon St. 
Brookline, MA

Liberty Heights Fresh
1290 1100E
Salt Lake City, UT

Jason Stephens' Winery
6500 Brem Lane
Gilroy, CA