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Growing and Harvesting

At Pleasant Valley, we grow several varietals of olives: Frantoio, Leccino, Casaliva, Taggiasca, and Pendolino. We take great pride in being part of the California olive oil producers, who are growing some of the highest quality olive oil in the world. We implement some of the industry’s best practices in olive cultivation and harvesting. One of the keys to making a premium olive oil is knowing the right moment to harvest olives. The ripeness of the olives will determine how the olive oil will taste. For example, greener olives generally have a strong grassy flavor and less oil. More mature olives will express
a subtle buttery flavor and yields more oil. As soon as the olives are at the proper ripeness, it’s critical to harvest as quickly as possible to make sure the caliber of the olive oil is as consistent as possible. It’s essential to understand that superb tasting olive oil begins with high grade and properly grown olives – our olives are from an award-winning grove. Here at Pleasant Valley Farms, we harvest olives using the old world “hand-harvest” method. The quality of the olive oil is a direct outcome of how the olives are grown, harvested and milled. We take each step carefully to ensure our olive oil is of the highest standard possible.

Growing & Harvesting

We harvest our olive trees late Summer through late Fall, depending on the readiness of the olives, variety, and desired ripeness. Our olives begin as green in color and then gradually become rosy, purple, and eventually black. All of our olives are gathered for processing into oil, and the level of ripeness matters. Several varieties of olives may be used for the final milling. We use the traditional method of picking olives by hand. We also employ the use of long-handled, vibrating tongs to shake the olives from the branches and onto tarps laid below the trees. The olives are then placed in large crates, at which point they are ready to be delivered to the mill for processing into oil.

Milling & Bottling

Once the harvest is complete, it is now time to deliver the olives to the  mill. We do this as quickly as possible to ensure the highest quality of oil. The first step in the milling process is to wash and clean the olives. Then they are feed to a mill, which crushes the olives whole and then sends them through the Malaxer, which gently warms and churns the mixture into a paste. Once this process is completed, the paste is pumped into a centrifuge where it is spun into separate layers. One of these layers is the oil layer, which is extracted and barreled. The extra virgin olive oil is now ready to be racked, poured and bottled.