An ancient tree
It is generally believed that the first olive trees came from countries surrounding the Mediterranean Sea. It is among the oldest known cultivated trees in the world, being grown before the written language was invented. The Bible refers to the olive tree as the “king of trees” and the “tree of life.” In the Book of Genesis the dove sent out from the ark by Noah returned with an olive branch – the great symbol of peace, indicating the end of God’s anger.
The olive in California
Spanish Missionaries brought the olive tree to North America in the 1700’s. The first olive trees were planted in California at the San Diego Mission by Franciscan monks in 1769. The trees were planted throughout California with the intention of producing oil.
Today, over 1000 growers on 27,000 acres grow the olive in the warm inland valleys of California, continuing the long and venerable tradition of the olive. Olive trees (Olea europaea) thrive in regions with hot, dry summers and cool winters where temperatures do not fall below 25 degrees. Therefore, they do well in most of California, including the Sacramento Valley.
Located in rural southeast Sacramento, the Mission and Manzanillo Olives that are grown on the Wolfe Heights’ small family grove yield a moderately robust flavor that won a Gold (Best of Show) and a Silver (Best of Class) Award at the 2018 Napa Valley Olive Oil Competition.
The orchard, which was certified organic to the USDA by the California Certified Organic Farmers, is nurtured, sustained, pruned, and cared for by hand. Harvest generally starts in early September and concludes in mid-November. The fruit is delicately handpicked and cold pressed within hours of harvest, producing a high quality Extra Virgin Olive Oil.
Wolfe Heights’ owner, Felipe Martin loves how his olives produce a rich peppery and deeply herbaceous flavor, followed by its soft buttery finish. “It’s the only oil that my family uses in our kitchen,” Felipe Martin explains, “so we’re happy to share our award-winning extra-virgin flavor with other kitchens throughout the West.”