Although our olive trees are decades old, our experience producing olive oil is a bit less. We are learning as we go – with our first production harvest in the fall of 2015 and our first farmer's market participation in 2016.
We gained valuable feedback from our early customer base and insider tips from friends with experience in extra virgin olive oil (EVOO) making. We incorporated what we learned and began producing an EVOO of the highest quality, evidenced by the fact that Moonrise Grove was judged by The California Olive Oil Council (COOC) in 2018 to be the best Mission variety EVOO in the state!
During 2019 and 2020, the pandemic prevented us from gathering together to harvest, and we could not go to market. We hoped to return in 2021, but drought conditions negatively impacted the olive bloom, and again, we could not go to market. Instead, we switched gears and spent our energy installing an extensive underground irrigation system that delivers a measured amount of water to each of our grove's (141) trees. This made a profound difference, and our 2022 harvest season was the best yet, producing enough oil to return to the market!
Bringing back "Toil for the Oil" in 2022 was exciting. At Moonrise Grove, we take the saying "Farm-to-Fork" to heart. Our olives are hand-harvested by volunteers, comprised mainly of rock climbers and outdoor enthusiasts. Extracting olives from mature 30+ foot tall trees with equally wide leaf canopies is hard work. Our crew relishes the physical challenge as much as they love the delicious olive oil their sore muscles produce. Also, they love the camaraderie of harvesting the 'Tree of Life' by hand. An ancient ritual. And they love celebrating their accomplishment over food and drink at the end of the day.
For 2022, the Applied Sensory (Davis, CA) taste panel, as well as an independent lab, confirmed the superior quality of our EVOO. A key measure of EVOO quality is the amount of free fatty acids, a negative characteristic that cannot exceed .5 mg (twice as rigorous as the USDA limit.) Moonrise Grove free fatty acids come in at .08 mg - hardly measurable!
The 2022 detailed sensory report can be found here:
Within hours of harvest, Moonrise Grove olives (USDA-certified organic) are pressed with state-of-the-art milling equipment by The Olive Press - Sonoma (certified organic) and bottled by the California Olive Oil Co-Packers (certified organic) in Fairfield, CA. We include the harvest month and year on every bottle of Moonrise Grove so you know that your olive oil is as fresh as possible. All of these factors contribute to the high quality of our EVOO. However, one characteristic differentiates Moonrise Grove EVOO from all but a few producers - the complex flavor profile and smooth finish only obtainable from century-old, legacy olive trees!
Our customers love our product and become easily addicted – in a healthy way! Try some to truly appreciate the delicious flavor and quality of Moonrise Grove organic extra virgin olive oil.