Olive Mill Options In and Around Sonoma County

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Olive Mill Options In and Around Sonoma County

by Jane and Gabe Jackson, The Beverage People

Milling olives takes large scale equipment.  There are no economy grinders and presses appropriate for home use. Grinding can be done with a very large stone wheel and donkey, if you have those.  Pressing the paste generally requires hydraulic pressure which applies greater force than manual presses can provide.  So, milling olives has historically involved a community mill where the neighbors bring their olives to one large mill for processing.  That tradition continues today in Sonoma County.

Our staff research identified several mills available, at certain times, to the community for pressing olives.  This research may not be comprehensive, and may not receive timely updates for current pricing and other details.  Still, it is intended to help you get in touch with the press owners so you can get your olive harvest processed into oil.  Those local mill operators are listed below.

About Olive Oil Yield

It takes about 20-25 pounds of olives to make one quart of olive oil but this depends greatly on the variety of olive.

Trees can yield anywhere from 10 to 500 lbs of olives depending on how big the tree, how old, what variety, whether it is watered, whether it is an "off" or "on" year (AKA alternate bearing), the weather, etc. The most common types of olives in California, the Manzanillo and Mission, contain anywhere from 15 to 30% oil by volume. In general, about 35-50 gallons per ton.


Milling Process

  1. After picking, remove leaves, branches, and other debris. This can be done by using blowers and also by mechanical separaters.
  2. Cleaning the olives. The olives should be rinsed to remove any dirt or other larger debris which can damage equipment.
  3. Grinding the olives into a paste. The crushing and grinding helps break down the flesh so the oil can be released. Typically olives are not pitted before grinding.
  4. Malaxing or mixing the paste for up to 45 minutes helps to start the separation of oil from the paste. Longer mixing can increase yield but also increases oxidation which lowers quality and shelf life.
  5. Separating the oil from the solids and water. Historically done with presses where the paste is spread on mats and stacked before being slowly pressed. More modern mills use a centrifuge. The oil is then put in tanks or other containers to finish a final separation of water from the oil. According to California olive oil expert, Paul Vossen, oils that are not filtered should be separated and, ideally, purged from the bottom after 24 hours.  A Fusti oil tank is helpful for this step.  This should be repeated twice more, at one-month intervals, prior to bottling. If the oil is going to be kept for more than six months before bottling, it should be racked into a completely clean tank after one month of storage. The oil can also be racked from the top, leaving behind any solids and water.

 

 Fusti Olive Oil Tanks

 


 Olive Mills of the Sonoma County Area


 

Caution about the condition of your fruit:

Most mills will reject fruit that has fruit fly damage or other sad circumstances.

Fruit should be picked no more than two days before the pressing to avoid rot.

 

Name: Figone's Olive Oil Mill - Village Mill

Location: Sonoma

Pricing: $0.98/lb up to 500 lbs. Containers supplied, no exceptions. $525 custom crush up to 1 ton. $0.26/lb for each additional lb over 1 ton.

Minimum for Community Press: 5 lbs to 500 lbs. Amount of oil returned based on weight of olives brought in.
Minimum for Custom Press: 150 lb. If customer provides containers they must be stainless or new food grade drums only.

Dates: Saturdays and Sundays, October through December

Olives for Sale: No

Contact: 707-244-9148/info@figoneoliveoil.com

 

Name: The Olive Press

Location: Sonoma

Pricing: $0.75/lb up to 300 lb, must purchase containers from them for an additional but small charge.

Minimum for Community Press: Up to 300 lbs. Amount of oil returned based on weight of olives brought in.

Minimum for Custom Press: 800 lb

Dates: Sunday in early November and Sunday in late November.

Olives for Sale: No

Contact: 707-939-8900

 

Name: McEvoy Ranch

Location: West of Petaluma

Pricing: $1.00/lb, must purchase containers from them for an additional charge.

Minimum for Community Press: Unknown. Amount of oil returned based on weight of olives brought in.

Minimum for Custom Press: 400 lb

Dates: Usually a Sunday in mid-November.

Olives for Sale: Unkown

Contact: (707) 778-2307


Name: Goldridge Organic Farms

Location: West of Sebastopol

Pricing: $1/lb for 50-150 lbs - up to $400/ton

Minimum for Community Press: not available

Minimum for Custom Press: 50 lbs

Dates: October to end of December

Olives for Sale: unknown

Contact: brook@goldridgeorganicfarms.com

 

Name: Trattore

Location: Geyserville

Pricing: $0.90/lb up to 700/800 lb, discounted after that

Minimum for Community Press: 5 lbs. Amount of oil returned based on percentage of total milled.

Minimum for Custom Press: 1 ton

Dates: 1 day near the end of October, 1 day around Thanksgiving, 1 day in December

Olives for Sale: No

Contact: 707-293-8833/ml@trattorefarms.com


Name: Olivino

Location: Hopland

Pricing: $1/lb up to 450 lb; $450 flat fee for 450 lb to 1 ton; $400 per ton (subject to change)

Minimum for Community Press: None. Amount of oil returned based on percentage of total milled.

Minimum for Custom Press: 700 lb

Dates: Daily October 15 through December 15

Olives for Sale: No

Contact: 707-744-1114