I have been spoiled by our experience in Italy. I have tasted great olive oil. I have even participated in the making of fantastic oil. It was a real treat. The fact I got to do it with my oldest son made it better.
Yesterday I drove an hour outside of LA to Temecula. Temecula from the freeway looks like one big strip mall, a new one but a strip mall all the same. I hate strip malls more than anything. They are soulless to me. They are pretty, clean boxes that lack character. Maybe they are just too perfect for me.
About 20 miles south east of the main section of Temecula is the Temecula Olive Oil Company. This is were the olive are grown and pressed and it looks very much like rural Italy. It’s pristine, clean and rural. The houses are average. Some are not much to look at. The hillsides are strewn with large, smooth boulders. Olive trees cluster around each other and lay out across the land. They look just like Italian olive trees. Most of them are Italian. The equipment at the Olive Mill has Italian writing across it with names I don’t recognize, but words that are clearly Italian.
At this orchard a huge semi truck is parked. At the back of the trucks the doors are wide open and a large hopper is perched on the back. It looks exactly like the hopper I saw at the community olive mill in Italy. That hopper is the only similarity The rest of the machinery looks like something from a NASA space station. It sure doesn’t look like an olive oil press, but surprisingly it performs the same function. The oil drips from the centrifuge at the final stage of the pressing. The oil is golden in color and tastes buttery. It lacks the deep green color of the olive oil I am accustomed to in Italy,but it’s fresh and tastes really good.
Here are some pictures from the day.