California Olive Oil Council

Roy and I spent last weekend in Monterey at the California Olive Oil Council annual meeting. As a small grower we sometimes felt overwhelmed by the huge operators, but it didn’t matter if you had 100 trees or 100,000 trees because all in the industry want to see great things happen with locally grown olive oil.

12670627_10154040417892359_8182975830600442628_nThe panel discussions were led by a wide range of growers, marketing people, judges, retailers, and trade association leaders. Even the exhibitors offered a wealth of information. One sold hand held harvesting devices, which we bought and will try next harvest!

Perhaps the best thing about events like this is simply meeting people. We had conversations with a UC Davis professor, a professional olive oil taster from Italy, a journalist from Modern Farmer Magazine, the executive director of California Grown, and the VP of the Speciality Food Association. It’s encouraging and fun to meet people who are passionate about quality food and great olive oil.

D’Oliva is going to be an even better oil because of the things we learned. Of course it’s already GREAT and we continue to rack up awards despite our small production and limited history as producers.

If you’d like to order oil, remember our signature 500 ML bottle is now priced at $25. You can order here and have the oil shipped, or you can pick it up at one of our two locations in Pleasanton (upstairs in the Hopyard Village) or Livermore (near Campo di Bocce).

Thank you!


Olive Harvest Diary

My husband Roy wrote this “daily diary” of harvest day for his own blog, and I thought it would be fun to share here. He captures both the beauty of the day and the hard work involved. Hope you enjoy the story!

It was dark and quiet when I arrived at the Goble Ranch on Sunday morning. Not yet even a glimpse of the coming sunrise, only the owls in the eucalyptus grove calling “hoo hoo” as they wrapped up a night of hunting. It was eerie in some ways, beautiful in others.

Empty bins waiting for harvest.

Empty bins waiting for harvest.

I opened the D’Oliva shed doors, flipped on a few lights, and started setting up for the days olive harvest. Yellow lugs were placed at the end of each row, a cooler of drinks set out, the ATV gassed and ready. Soon the crew began arriving, a parade of vehicles streaming in with headlight beams bouncing off the old sheds. Then Jose, our caretaker, came over to help.

The sun was just beginning to show signs of rising when D’Aun arrived, followed quickly by our friend Paul. A few minutes past seven and the crew put on belly buckets. The crew chief, Matt, asked D’Aun for instructions on where to start, and then they were off and working. It was still chilly so they were wrapped in an odd assortment of jackets, scarves and hoodies.

The boss hard at work.

The boss hard at work.

D’Aun identified one tree she wanted to do by herself. This would give an idea of how long each tree would take and how many pounds each would produce. Two months earlier an olive consultant, Guillermo, had looked at the D’Oliva grove and predicted 25 pounds a tree (around 8100 pounds total). So D’Aun was eager to benchmark one tree. Two hours later she gave in and asked for help, but she had most of it done by then. It had 56 pounds of olives — which meant, if it was the average, we would get a whopping 18,000 pounds of olives! That was great, but how would we get everything harvested in one day?

Sadie the olive grove dog.

Sadie the olive grove dog.

By mid-morning our friends and family began arriving. It was a family affair, with kids and dogs running around. All the workers, amateurs or professionals, would focus on one row at at time and bring their hand harvested olives to the end of the row to pour into the yellow lugs. Paul and I collected the lugs, weighed them to record the total from the row, then poured them into larger bins already strapped to a trailer.

By noon it was clear we would have a great harvest, our best ever, but it wasn’t going to be the 9 tons the one test tree indicated. In hindsight it seems D’Aun chose one of the fruit richest trees to measure, which explains why it took so long! We were averaging about 25 pounds a tree, for a more realistic 4 ton harvest. It was still going to be close to see if we could finish by sunset.

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Walking the long rows.

The day moved on and the afternoon warmed up. Friends and family came and went according to their personal schedules, the professionals kept at it with an occasional break, and Paul and I continued to lift, weigh, and lift again all those olives. Prosecco was served to the friends and family, which raised spirits (whether it increased performance is debatable). We were growing weary but the olive grove was slowly being conquered by the diligence of the harvesters.

In the late afternoon the friends and family crew retired into the shed, happy to have completed four rows (in the time it took the professionals to do nineteen). They ate cheese, salami and crackers, sipped prosecco, and asked D’Aun for the recipe to her amazing rosemary olive oil cake.

Filling the yellow lugs with hand harvested olives.

Filling the yellow lugs with hand harvested olives.

The professionals worked on and by 5 pm we knew we had the harvest nearly done. The crew slipped into overtime pay and kept going for another hour. Costly, but they worked diligently, and we got it all done. Even had extra time to pull a few overlooked olives off the nearly bare trees.

By 6:30 pm we could see the sun starting to set. The friends and family were long gone, the professionals were enjoying the cookies D’Aun shared with them, and the belly buckets were being put back in place. Paul and Jose put tarps over the bins, which were brimming with olives, and loaded 37 more yellow lugs into the back of the truck because we had run out of bins. Our initial estimate, using the little scale we had, was over 7600 pounds.

By 8 pm D’Aun and I were home, exhausted. My FitBit read 35,000 steps that day. But we knew the job wasn’t done quite yet. The next morning we met Paul and together we drove the olives to a nearby mill. They weighed the bins and came up with 7796 pounds. Thus 24 pounds a tree, very close to Guillermo’s prediction.

The olives were put into the mill, and an hour or so later the first oil was beginning to pour. It had the rich, buttery taste D’Oliva is known for. Will it be another medal winner? Too early to tell, but no doubt the olives looked great and the oil tasted wonderful.

The fruits of the harvest -- D'Oliva Olive Oil.

The fruits of the harvest — D’Oliva Olive Oil.

Next the oil is racked, which simply means put into storage so the sediment can settle. In a few months it is bottled, labeled, and ready for consumption.

And then, and only then, you get a chance to enjoy it!

See you at the Fair!

In case you missed the news, D’Oliva recently won a Gold Medal from the California State Fair! We have been invited to serve and sell our award winning olive oil at the Fair this Sunday, July 12th, 2015.
We will be at Cal-Expo in Sacramento from 10 am to 4 pm and would love to see any of you who can make it out. Our booth is in Building B – California’s Kitchen at the Extra Virgin Olive Oil exhibit and tasting bar.

Special for this event we will be giving away our incredible Lavender Olive Oil Soap with every purchase! This is an $8 value that has become a favorite with our customers. It’s our way of celebrating our inaugural visit to the California State Fair!

If you can’t make it to the Fair, you can always place your order online at our store where you can choose to have it shipped, or pick it up at our Pleasanton or Livermore locations.

We will be at Cal-Expo in Sacramento in Building B – California’s Kitchen at the Extra Virgin Olive Oil exhibit and tasting bar. See you there!

We hope to see you soon! And we thank you for your support.

Hoping for a big crop this year

It’s always fun to watch the olive trees change through the seasons. This is the time of year when the fruit sets on the tree and we get our first inkling of the harvest size. The picture below shows how the buds have just recently turned into tiny little olives. From the looks of things it should be a great harvest.

No guarantees just yet though! The recent California drought, a surprise storm, even those pesky gophers can all have an impact. The most important factor is definitely the olive fruit fly, which has destroyed many olive crops around CA and the world in the past several years. We’re working hard to keep any damage to a minimum.

Olives are alternate bearing, which means a heavy yield is usually followed by a weak yield. Last year we had a small crop so we have high hopes for this November.

Our inventory is unusually small due to the small harvest last year. If you want to make sure you get a bottle (or two) then order now before it’s all gone!


We Won ANOTHER Gold Medal!

We won another one!

D’Oliva Olive Oil was just awarded our second GOLD Medal this year! We entered the California State Fair’s inaugural olive oil competition and were honored to receive one of their top awards. It continues to surprise us that our young grove produces such high quality oil, which translates into excellence and honesty in our product. This medium robust, wonderfully buttery oil is getting some nice attention from the olive oil world.

Our award winning harvest was excellent, but quite small this year. We moved into a new larger 500 ML bottle, and only 18 cases remain. Order yours now through our online store and choose to ship, or a pick-up location in Pleasanton or Livermore. We will contact you once your order is placed and any special accommodations can be worked out at that time.

And while you are in our Store, check out the Lavender Olive Oil Soap. It is fast becoming a customer favorite! Lightly fragrant and wonderfully long lasting, we think you will love it.

Special while they last….all orders will include a package of sunflower seeds we harvested from my 8-foot sunflowers last summer! I planted mine just a few weeks ago and they are already growing fast!

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We Won a Gold Medal!


Can we shout that again? Our very first gold medal and we could not be prouder!
2015 Gold Medal
Last year we submitted a bottle of D’Oliva to the California Olive Oil Council and we won a Silver Medal. This year we entered the process again. The olives were beautiful during harvest, but we still didn’t want to let our dreams get too big. Along with many other producers, we were judged for quality, taste, and overall excellence.

And let’s say it again: WE WON A GOLD MEDAL!

There were endless smiles and shouts of joy when we received the email notification. It’s so great to know our hard work is being recognized by outside experts. And the folks at the COOC are truly the top experts. We always knew the oil was good, but we’re thrilled to see others agree!

Now is a good time to stock up. The oil is in short supply due to a small harvest, and with this recognition it is going to go fast.

You can place your order at our online store.

Looking forward to hearing from you.




Our New Olive Oil is Here!

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Our latest extra virgin olive oil is now available!

Harvested in late October, the oil has been “racking” since milling. Racking allows for a natural filtration so our oil retains the highest level of quality and a longer shelf life.

The oil is now bottled and ready in our new, larger 500 ML bottles with our new label. And notice the bottle cap – we’re really excited about it because it doubles as a pour spout.
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This year’s blend has a medium robust, buttery taste profile making it perfect for salads, roasted vegetables and grilled meats. It is ready to be the final touch on your favorite foods.

We are excited once again to share with you the fruit (juice) of our labor! Order yours today!

Harvest Update and Photos

Harvest Day 2014 is complete! With a labor crew of 45 plus 15 friends and family we completed the harvest quickly. We started in the fog before sunrise and almost all the olives were off the trees by noon! Sadly this is because the harvest yield was especially low this year.
People often ask why a harvest is big or small, and the answer is usually “that’s farming.” But there were some good reasons why 2014 was a low yield year. One reason is olive trees are alternate bearing, meaning they have some seasons when they produce abundant fruit and others when they invest their energy into deeper roots. Another is the continued drought in California. Still another might be the impact of the olive fruit fly.

Whatever the reason, our harvest of less than one ton was about a third of what we had hoped for, and less than 40% of what we had last year. The good news is the olives looked fantastic. Honestly, they were nearly perfect!


Maria was the winner of our “guess the harvest” contest.

Though it was a hard half-days work, we had a lot of fun! Friends, family, and the cutest kids ever all helped. The labor crew was amazing as always, and our foreman Maria won the prize for most accurate guess of the total harvest.

The next morning Roy and I took the olives to Sciabica’s in Modesto for processing. We had a chance to taste the oil as fresh as it will ever be when it came straight out of the mill. The quality we saw in the olives on harvest day was obvious in the taste on milling day!

The 2014 harvest oil will be available in a few months, but unfortunately it will be in limited supply this year. We still have our awarding winning 2013 Estate Olive Oil available and there are even a few bottles left of the 2013 Late Harvest Oil. Now is the time to visit our new online store and stock up.

A foggy morning soon became a beautiful clear day.

A foggy morning soon became a beautiful clear day.



Friends and family helping with the harvest.

Friends and family helping with the harvest.

One of the cutest harvesters!

One of the cutest harvesters!

Our friend Paul was a huge help. Thanks Paul!

Our friend Paul was a huge help. Thanks Paul!

Roy was responsible for the weighing and loading of the olives.

Roy was responsible for the weighing and loading of the olives.


Who knew babies fit perfectly into belly buckets?!?

Who knew babies fit perfectly into belly buckets?!?


Olives weighed and loaded, ready for transport to the mill.

Olives weighed and loaded, ready for transport to the mill.

Time to celebrate with our work crew.

Time to celebrate with our work crew.

A toast to Harvest 2014!

A toast to Harvest 2014!

An Interview With D’Oliva’s Founder

We sat down with D’Aun Goble, the founder of D’Oliva, to hear a bit more about the brains (and beauty!) behind this delicious olive oil.
What was your inspiration to start a boutique Olive Oil brand?
“I wanted to do a ‘reinvent’ once my kids were grown.  We had the land available at our family ranch, and I love things that bring together hard work, friends, and good food.  After several years of weekend study at the Mondavi Institute’s UC Davis Olive Center, it was time to just take the plunge.”
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Why did you choose to plant the varietals that you did?

“There are six Tuscan varietals planted at D’Oliva. We intentionally chose these six because of the flavor profile they would create when blended together, resulting in an intense yet balanced olive oil. With the goal of pairing great olive oil with great food, D’Oliva has succeeded beautifully and I’m really pleased.”

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Tell us a little about the Goble Ranch, where D’Oliva Olive Oil is grown. 

“The D’Oliva Olive Oil orchard is situated on a family ranch in the small community of Sunol in Northern California. The 120-acre property has most recently been used for cattle and horses, though there are signs that it was terraced and farmed for grapes in the 19th Century.

The climate is much like Tuscany, with warm summers and cool winters, and the property is just far enough from the ocean to avoid consistent fog. The trees are planted on generous 18 foot centers to allow maximum lateral growth in the years ahead. Drip irrigation is used in the dry months of summer and fall and about 14” of rain falls in the winter (when it’s not a drought year!). Weeds are hand pulled, mowed or plowed in the spring. An 8 foot fence keeps the deer from munching on the trees, barn owls are beginning to occupy our beautiful owl boxes, and Killdeer Plover love to lay their eggs at the base of our trees in the spring. It’s a nice community of critters sharing in our land.”

What sets D’Oliva Olive Oil apart from other EVOO oils?
“We are fortunate to have wonderful quality olive oils in California. Unfortunately there are also many oils that claim quality, both in California and around the world, that just aren’t. We take a different approach and share the entire experience so you know exactly how the olives were grown, harvested, milled into oil, then bottled. Our aim is to have integrity in the entire process, and we share a little bit of ourselves in every bottle we make.”
What are some of the hardships you face during the year?
“The olive fruit fly is one of the worst problems and olive groves around the world are dealing with this pest. We are being vigilant to make sure they don’t destroy this year’s crop by monitoring the influx and spraying (with a pretty affective organic product) weekly.  Other than that, critters like gophers, squirrels and moles are determined to dig as many tunnels as they possibly can. Our ranch is often windy (which makes for a nice breeze when working), so keeping the trees staked well and maintaining a balanced canopy can be a challenge.”
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Will D’Oliva ever lose it’s boutique feel?
“Not a chance! With only 325 trees we are one of the smallest growers in California.  Our young trees have been great producers, but we will never have a warehouse full of oil.  And because the trees were planted on 18′ centers, hand harvesting will always be our only option (which also makes for a great harvest party!).”
What are your favorite recipe’s to use with D’Oliva Olive Oil?
“My go-to will always be as a salad dressing.  My favorite dressing includes D’Oliva Olive Oil, a quality flavored vinegar (pear chardonnay, fig balsamic, pomegranate vinegar…whatever works with my ingredients) and a good French sea salt. I also love using D’Oliva as a finish on a good steak, with garden fresh tomatoes and basil, with grilled vegetables, or in a savory cake.”
To order D’Oliva Olive Oil please check out our online order form. An online store is in the works and will be released later this year. Make sure to get the delicious 2013 harvest before it runs out!

Our Biggest Order Ever!

Summer has kicked in with high heat and clear skies, and the trees are responding!  The orchard looks good, and the fruit is setting right on schedule.
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Last month D’Oliva received its largest order ever with over 20% of our 2013 production going into some very lucky hands!  With our next harvest not available until the spring of 2015, we begin this summer with a much leaner inventory.
If you’d like to purchase the 2013 Estate or Late Harvest oils, place your order soon to assure you don’t miss out.  We also have a few half-gallon bottles of Estate oil, and our wonderful lavender soap is still available.

You can place your order here.
Time will tell what the yield will be for 2014, but we hope for another solid harvest.  If we keep getting orders like this, we’ll need all the oil we can get!

We hope your summer is filled with friends and family, great food and warm summer evenings.