The Ridge Runner
Closed for the HolidaysDecember 31st, 2011
Closed for the HolidaysDecember 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 2011October 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 & BlossomsJune 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.