•September 8, 2011 • Leave a Comment
Losing yourself in the moment can and should be a daily practice. However that occurs, it is a beautiful thing. Part of the reason that I chose a career in olives was because I found personal moments of joy while working with these noble trees. I was able to step outside myself and just observe and *be* in that moment. There was nothing but the work. No-mind, as the taoists and buddhists say. The right action came about naturally, be it pruning or picking or milling. Just the pleasure of stewarding the tree into a productive shape, extracting the oil from the olives, and being a part of the environment around me.
There’s beauty in this business. Make no mistake. The landscape, the fruit, the sights and smells of the rich agricultural tradition here in Sonoma County make for a wonderful environment to be a part of. The sight of the first stream of olive oil coming out of the mill is a vision to behold. And the taste of this oil is unlike any olive oil you have ever tasted before. Beauty. People can disagree over whether a painting or a building or a design is beautiful, but has anyone ever disagreed over the beauty of a forest, river, or coast that has been relatively untouched by human development? The same beauty for me exists in the olive world. The silvery flash of underside of the olive leaves in the wind, the striking colors of an olive ripening from green to black, and the joy of the people gathering around waiting for that first taste of authentic extra virgin olive oil from the new harvest.
Authenticity shouldn’t be a goal to strive for–it should be the natural result of a clear mind and ethical actions. The olive oils produced by Merchants & Millers are authentic. The joy we derive from producing these products, from orchard to table, is authentic. We’d love to hear your thoughts on our products. Feel free to comment below or on our Facebook page. Thanks for stopping by…
•March 24, 2011 • Leave a Comment
the 2011 Line-up!
It’s here. Finally. The 2011 Merchants & Millers line-up. And, the website. Let’s chat, shall we?
First, let’s talk about the 2010 growing season. Olive oil, like wine, has vintage variations based on the weather. Mother Nature is a fickle mistress, and she often takes her own sweet time to ripen our crops. This year was no exception. It was the coolest growing season in the last 30 years. Which made it a rough year for tomatoes in Sonoma County. Not so much for olives, though, as our growing season is long, and our patience longer still. Some years, harvest can begin in our area as early as the first week of November. This season, our harvest began in earnest on the week of Thanksgiving. Our biggest challenge: a heavy frost descended on the night of Thanksgiving and had an adverse effect on olives at lower elevations. We lost an entire orchard’s crop to this frost. Fortunately, we have several other orchards available to us at higher elevations that survived this frost event. We became temporary meteorologists, watching the weather to try and anticipate future frost events and perhaps making a decision to pick ahead of them. With the cool growing season, many of the olive varieties that we use in our blends were not ripe until later in the season. This stretched our harvest into late December.
The resulting oils from this cool growing season reflect the vintage. They are dominated by more green fruits and less tropical ones, and have an underlying pungency to varying degrees based on the blend. They remain delicious. Our California Blend, recently won a gold medal at the 2011 California Olive Oil Council Annual Competition. Our Sonoma Blend and our Olio Nuovo both won Silver. We had not yet bottled the Meyer Lemon Blend but we expect it to do well in future competitions. Next up, competitions at Yolo County (the 2nd biggest olive oil competition in California) and the big one, the LA County Fair, which is the largest olive oil competition in the US.
Our website is now functional! If you found your way to this blog through a previous bookmark, please note you can now access it directly through the website. If you found it through the website, thanks for the visit! And check back for more updates! Our website was designed and developed through the design agency notion:creative. We are very pleased with the site, and are even more excited to be taking orders directly through our e-commerce store!
That’s all for now. Back to the business of selling our outstanding oils. Over and out.
•January 12, 2011 • Leave a Comment
This weekend is the big event around here known as Winter Wineland. And we are participating, in a small way, by pouring our olive oils (including the new Olio Nuovo) at the Stephen & Walker Tasting Room in Healdsburg. This may be your last chance to get the Olio Nuovo, as we are down to the last couple of cases. And it is a tremendous olive oil. So come out, say hi, and taste some fine wines as well as our oils at the Stephen & Walker tasting room. We look forward to seeing you there!
Info on Winter Wineland: http://www.wineroad.com
Stephen & Walker: http://www.trustwine.com
•December 18, 2010 • Leave a Comment
Today we are pouring our new milled and bottled Olio Nuovo at Traverso’s in Santa Rosa, from 11:30 till ???? We are very excited for the release of this seasonal olive oil. As is Santa in the image above. Come on out and meet John and I and we’ll tell you all about the new oil. And pick some up for all your holiday needs!
Traverso’s Gourmet Foods and Wines
707 542 2530
•December 17, 2010 • Leave a Comment
After a challenging growing season, which included cooler than normal summer temperatures and rough autumn weather, we are finally ready to release our 2010 Olio Nuovo! Our Olio Nuovo is made from a blend of three different Sonoma County olive orchards, all located in the Healdsburg area. It’s a blend of Frantoio, Leccino, Pendolino, Manzanilla and Mission olives. We are really, really excited about this first oil of the new season. Olio Nuovo is an oil that is intended for immediate use, as it does not go through a settling and racking process that is common to most olive oils; it’s considered a holiday season treat! The oil will naturally be cloudy, and have some sediment, but this is also the key to the freshness of the oil, and shouldn’t be missed!
We are excited to be doing an in store appearance for the debut of our Olio Nuovo at Traverso’s Italian Wine and Food Market in Santa Rosa on Saturday, December 18 (tomorrow). Please stop by and say hi, and give the Olio Nuovo a try!
•December 11, 2010 • Leave a Comment
Doralice Handal of the Cheese Shop of Healdsburg has put together an event called “Swap and Eat”. It’s taking place Sunday, December 12, from 4:30 pm to 7:30 pm at Affronti Restaurant in Healdsburg. Merchants & Millers will be there, selling the best olive oil in California and participating in the swap. Stop by and check it out!
A little reminder that if you’d like to make a Merchants & Millers product part of your holiday gift giving, you can buy from us directly by calling John Hadley (707 953 3294) or Kevin Rogers (707 799 2888) or emailing either of us–email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org. We’re happy to take your order and ship it according to your needs.
Merchants & Millers Extra Virgin Olive Oil: $15
Merchants & Millers Meyer Lemon Olive Oil: $20
Merchants & Millers Pomegranate Vinegar: $15
Merchants & Millers Sonoma Sea Salt: $7 (5 oz)
We are ready to help with your holiday shopping!
•November 2, 2010 • Leave a Comment
We will be pouring our Extra Virgin and Meyer Lemon Olive Oils this Saturday, November 6, at J Vineyards and Winery in Healdsburg, CA. The event is from noon to four pm. We’ll be slinging oil, answering questions about the 2010 harvest and all things olive. Information on J can be found at:
We hope to see you there!