– The Ridge Runner –

Announcing our 5th Annual Olio Nuovo Festa!

We are so excited to announce the dates for this year’s Olio Nuovo Festa: your first chance to taste this season’s freshly-milled olive oils right at the source. Also enjoy mill tours, traditional Italian bruschetta, and our latest Durant Vineyards Pinot Noir.

This event is FREE & open to the public. All ages are welcome!

Olio Nuovo Festa

at the Oregon Olive Mill

November 22nd-24th

(Friday, Saturday, Sunday)

11am-4pm each day

We’ll see you there!

(Thanks to John Valls for these great photos of last years’ festa!)

Fall Harvest Update

Our 2013 harvest is looking beautiful! The grapes are early, early, early this year thanks to all of the heat we’ve enjoyed this summer. The olives are in an ‘off’ year for production, but the trees are looking healthy and the fruit set is strong if a little light. We’re looking forward to the start of crush and then milling later on this fall. Check back for more updates!

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40th Anniversary Celebration!

Join Durant Vineyards at Red Ridge Farms, a family operation three generations strong, in celebrating 40 years of family farming.

The Durant family commemorates this 40-year milestone with an open house celebrating the development of their property. Guests are invited to meander through the beautiful grounds, gift store, plant nursery, wine tasting room, olive grove, and the Northwest’s only commercial olive pressing facility. Enjoy appetizers, hand-made ravioli, house-pressed olive oils, and finish off with artisan Arbequina ice cream from Salt & Straw. A flight of Durant Vineyard wines will be offered throughout the property and will be featuring the exciting re-release of our 2011 Bishop Pinot Noir. The Bishop Pinot is a limited release crafted from the fruit of the original Pommard vines planted by the Durant family in 1973: the perfect way to celebrate.

WHEN:
Saturday, September 7th
11:00am – 4:00pm (open house)

WHERE:
Red Ridge Farms
Dayton, Oregon

DETAILS:
$25 admission  |  $20 Red Ridge Club Members
Includes: Wine tasting, appetizers, and
a commemorative wine glass.
Wine by the glass will be available for purchase.
Children under 10 are free.

Reservations required by calling 503.864.8502 or visit us here.

 

News from the Farm

July 16th, 2013

This year is shaping up to be a stellar harvest! We have seen above-normal temperatures during the first couple weeks of July and at this rate, we are well above the 30-year average and nearly double that of the cool 2010 vintage.

Our olive trees are thriving and if you look closely, you can see tiny green olives forming on the branches. Eventually, all of the petals will wilt and fall away followed by the next phase of growth; pit hardening. The fresh, complex flavors found in our Oregon Olive Mill extra virgin olive oil are derived not only from our terroir, but from the pit of the olive. During the oil extraction process, we grind the pit up which imparts its unique flavor into the oil.

During this stage, the olive grows to roughly half of its size. The equivalent stage in wine grapes is called lag phase, in which the berry reaches approximately 50% of its final weight and seed hardening begins. In the Willamette Valley, lag phase occurs about 50 to 55 days postbloom. We look forward to this time of the year because it allow us to make crop estimates early in the season.

While this is turning out to be a rather warm year, make no mistake about it, these are still cool-climate growing conditions for both wine grapes and olives. While growing olives in a cooler climate comes with its own set of challenges (such as threat of early frost), one differentiating factor from warmer climates is that it results in olive oils that are more “green” in flavor characteristics (think grassy and mint flavors, or nettles and green tea), bitter and pungent. Bitterness and pungency (which creates that tingling sensation in the back of your throat) are actually indicators of a high quality olive oil. The more bitterness and pungency an oil has, the higher amounts of health-promoting polyphenols and cancer-fighting antioxidants it contains. In regard to wine grape production, our warm summer days coupled with cooler temperatures at the beginning and end of the growing season are one of the many reasons the Willamette Valley is considered a world-class growing region. Our wine grapes ripen slowly which results in balanced acids, incredible finesse and rich complexity thanks in part to the long, cool period of flavor development prior to harvest.

Make sure to pay us a visit this summer to take a closer look at the progression throughout the growing season and to explore the journey from grape to glass and olive to bottle. In the meantime, please enjoy these pictures from around our farm!

 

Baby olives on our upper olive orchard

Walking Tour

Berry development in our vineyard

Vineyard Walking Tour

Early bird gets the worm

Gourmet Farm Lunch

Penny's sheep. You can catch a glimpse of her flock from the tasting room patio!

Wreath making class at our annual Lavender Extravaganza

 

Closed for the Holidays

December 31st, 2011

Closed for the Holidays

December 30th, 2011

Done....Well, you're really never done.

November 17th, 2011

So, today marked the finish of the 2011 Olive Milling season at Red Ridge Farms and the Oregon Olive Mill.  We commenced milling on October 23rd.

It was a long run this year and the most fruit we have ever processed.  The mill ran to perfection and our crew was awesome as we worked some long 24 hr rotations.  We are really pleased with the fruit we were able to source from N. California.  Yesterday afternoon we had a “community milling day” where we milled for 3 families in addition to our own fruit.  I will post some pictures of the Olives and resulting oil later.  This is our 4th season of milling Oregon Olives in Oregon Olive Oil and the results are always awesome and so distinctive.  Difficult to mill,  but rich in texture and flavor.  After these Oregon oils are refined they will be blended with the balance of our oils.  Not a long post today, I have not slept since much in the last few weeks between grape harvest and an intense run of milling, but will provide more details on the fruit and milling results soon.

Please come visit and sample our oils (and some of our Pinot Noir) this weekend, November 18th, 19th and 20th.  It is an open house and all are welcome.

Cheers, Paul Durant

Out of the frying pan and into the fire....

November 2nd, 2011

November 2, 2011 – Today marked the conclusion of  the grape harvest here at Durant Vineyards.  One of the latest harvests we have experienced in nearly 40 years of farming in Yamhill County.  We harvested about 150 tons, that went to 10 wineries (one as far south as Medford) in addition to our own label, Durant Vineyards.  This year we plan to double our production of Pinot Noir, Chardonnay and Pinot Gris.  Overall, we are exceedingly pleased with the fruit and look forward to some stellar 2011 wines.

So, now we are done with the frying pan of grape harvest and jump to the fire of olive milling.  As I write this blog post a load of hand picked Tuscan Olives is headed north.  This fruit was harvested today and immediately loaded on a truck.  In short order the mill will be up and running and our crew will be putting in some long hours to transform this fruit into Extra Virgin Olive Oil.  Look for more updates as we continue with our 2011 harvest and olive oil production activities.

Cheers – Paul Durant

 

First Olives of 2011

October 27th, 2011

Greetings – Sunday October 23rd marked our first day of making olive oil for 2011.  It was a relatively small batch of Olives – about 6 tons.  The Olives were Arbequinas from a farm in the Red Bluff area of Northern California.  This fruit was interesting and different from olives we have milled over the last 4 years in several ways.  First, these were machine harvested olives.   Last year we trialed two batches of machine harvested fruit and in several instances the machine harvested fruit was actually lower in free fatty acids than the hand harvested fruit.  The key here: Logistics and attention to detail.  We made a trip down to CA a week prior to harvest to inspect the fruit, a state of the art olive harvester was used (NOT a modified grape harvester), and most importantly the fruit was loaded and headed north within a couple of hours of picking, hauled overnight and milling started Sunday morning.  In a hotter climate even this 12 hr delay might be an issue.  Not so much here, where it is cool.  We also had the fruit picked directly into small, vented bins rather than a big gondola.  A lot of fruit damage can occur in just the transfer of olives.

The other interesting thing about this fruit was that it was really really small.  Unlike a lot of the fruit we’ve seen from California.  The olives were much closer to the size of the Arbequinas we grow here in Oregon.  Perhaps the climate in this area of Red Bluff is more similar to Oregon, who knows….This does have impact on flavor.  Much of the flavors found in olive oils are pit derived.  The ratio of pit to olive flesh around the pit can have a big impact on flavor.  I’ve milled our Oregon grown fruit for the last 3 years and this oil in many ways approximated what I have experienced from our Oregon fruit. Both in how the fruit milled and the resulting oil which is bright green in color, very smooth and integrated, with a strong pepper finish.  It will be interesting to see how this batch of Arbequina clarifies and refines it’s flavors.  We keep all our oils separate by batch and have them 3rd party certified to ensure that they meet the international standards for Extra Virgin.  Only after a batch is certified Extra Virgin will we blend with other batches.  Our key focus is premium quality that shines through in flavor, integration, and complexity.

I will keep a progress report going here as milling progress.  (I’ve been delayed this week as we are working hard to pull in our 2011 Grape Harvest as well.)  Next up for milling is some hand picked Tuscan Olives, perhaps as early as next week.   Look for some updates on Facebook and our website.  As always, please feel free to stop by, drop us an email, or give us a call if you have any questions.  We are alway happy to share our sourcing (trees and olives), techniques and experience – good and bad.

We are doing some “community/custom” milling this year.  We have four people signed up, so if  you have 50+lbs of olives let us know and we can transform your olives into some delicious olive oil.

Lastly, I will also provide an update soon on the trees.  We came through the winter quite well and the trees are looking healthy headed into fall.  We also have a good crop set.

Cheers,  Paul Durant

 

 

 

Sunshine & Blossoms

June 3rd, 2011

As Oregonians we are pretty used to the rain… that being said, the entire Red Ridge staff is excited for the sun in the forecast this weekend! Tayler took advantage of the sunshine today to get out of the office and take a few pictures of some of her favorite things blooming/ happening at Red Ridge right now.

 

Picnic Space in the Pergola

 

Euphorbia

Lavender getting ready to bloom

 

Pocketbook Plant in the Greenhouse

a close up of this beauty

Mint Barrels

 

View from the Pergola

 

Gorgeous Begonia

Fabulous Bloom

Varigated Sage

Chocolate Cosmos