Oregon Olive Oil Festival is Straight Out Of Italy
On a rural farm located high on the Northwest Coast of the U.S., a family is preparing to celebrate an ancient Italian tradition: a festival for olives.
Come mid-November, Red Ridge Farms in Oregon’s Willamette Valley will draw Italophile pilgrims from all corners of the country to celebrate the harvest and processing of their Olio Nuovo olive oil, which is made from olives from the farm’s orchard and pressed on the farm’s own Oregon Olive Mill with an imported Italian olive press. In the “Olio Nuovo Festa,” three whole days will celebrate the new olive harvest, in which visitors will be able to see how it’s made and sample fresh new olive oils in special dishes from area restaurants.
What makes the fresh, cold-pressed olive oil deserving of its own festival is its incomparable flavor: it’s got a fruity, grassy, and slightly spicy flavor that makes it finer than extra-virgin olive oil, and which discerning eaters love.
The Durant family, who run the farm and mill, has been quietly perfecting the art of olive oil from the established comfort of their extensive Willamette vineyards since 2005. Now, their 13,000 olive trees on 17 acres, along with their mill (the largest in the Northwest), make them a destination for anyone hoping to make-believe they’re in Italy without crossing the Atlantic.
The traditional Italian event will honor a variety of artisan oils, including Arbequina from Spain and Koroneiki from Greece, as well as Italian Tuscan. Guests can hand-fill a bottle of their favorite from a fusti, or stainless steel decanter.
Red Ridge Farms offers awesome lodging options, not to mention an expansive wine-tasting room; so if you’ll be in Orgeon the weekend of November 16 to 18, definitely consider working this Italian extravaganza into your plans.
Check out the farm on its Facebook.