Travel, Food, and Slices of Life

Olive Oil in Oregon


Ventabren windmillWhen I think of a place where olives grow I tend to think Provençe or Italy. Localities in those areas continually compete for the prestige of the “best” olive oil.  On a visit to the south of France I stayed in a medieval hilltop village where the ancient windmill still provides the power to press the olives. Our hostess actually was Italian and said the local olive oil was acceptable but she preferred her home village oil. Apparently, olive oil, like wine, chocolate, coffee and so much more, has so many nuances of flavor that appreciation can be improved with tasting.

I realized, once again, how much of a Mediterranean climate we enjoy here in Oregon. Not only are the Pinot Noirs competitive with France’s Burgundy wines because both growing regions are at the same latitude, but the wet winter and dry summer climate are the same.DSC_0031

And so, understanding that Oregon can also support olives is a natural next step.  There are a number of hardy varietals that can grow in this climate zone as far north as British Columbia.

Red Ridge Farms is located about ten miles from my new home and less than an hour from Portland or Salem.   I enticed Graham to go there this past Saturday because they also have a winery and, like me, he was interested to find out what the quality of the olive oil would be for our own kitchen.

Located in the southern section of the Dundee Hills, Red Ridge started out as a nursery and it is very apparent that the organization continues this side of the business today. Not only are the grounds beautiful, but they have a greenhouse and a large number of plants for sale.logo


The primary part of the business, however, is the Durant Winery.  Starting with their grape cultivation of Pinot Noir, Chardonnay and Pinot Gris over forty years ago, they began producing their own wines in 2003. Graham enjoyed his tasting there.Red Ridger

The Oregon Olive Mill began in 2008 and over 13,000 olive trees have been planted on about 17 acres. They have a number of  varietals planted including Arbequina, Leccino, Mission, Pendolino, Koroneiki, and Picual, and are experimenting with a few others.  Much more than just “black” and “green”!

Visitors are encouraged to actually “slurp” a taste of the olive oil that is produced there. Bread is offered to clean the palate.

Two blends are produced from olives grown in California as well.


The olive harvest typically takes place in mid November. We were told that as the pressing occurs the place smells great, even better than when the grapes are crushed, because of all the floral notes in the olives. DSC_0019 There will be a post pressing festival, Olio Nuovo, where people can come to enjoy tasting the new harvest, traditional Italian bruschetta and the latest Durant Vineyards Pinot Noir.  This will be held November 22-24 from 10-4 and you know we will be there!

The grounds are suited for special events and there is a guest suite and a cottage available for overnight accommodations.



Author: GoingPlaces Can-Do Zero Waste

I moved to McMinnville a few years ago and was impressed with its friendliness and the beauty of the surrounding countryside. I write several blogs. GoingPlacesLivingLife is my personal blog related to travel, food and just general thoughts. Can-Do Real Food tells about my business processing local produce from small farms and preserving it by canning and dehydrating. The concept of Zero Waste appeals to me because we can truly reduce what gets tossed into the landfill with very small changes in our lifestyle. Join us.

6 thoughts on “Olive Oil in Oregon

  1. Great! Did you know that here in Connecticut, some of the best wrapper tobacco in the world is grown in the fertile soil of the CT River valley?

    “Connecticut shade is one of the best looking tobaccos in the world. It tastes good too, but taste is subjective. It’s the wrapper that people see, and people smoke with their eyes, just like they eat and drink with their eyes.”

    So next time you have that wine, try a premier cigar wrapped in CT tobacco…topped off with an olive!

    Calm down….just kidding 🙂 !

    • hahahah….we’re trying to promote HEALTHY things into your body! Yes, when I lived in the Hartford area I was reminded that shade tobacco grows there. Come visit and taste what is growing here!!!!

    • It was beautiful when we visited there on Saturday but with the sunshine today it deserved a second visit for better photos…the colors are dazzling this time of year!

  2. Does it smell like olives? If it doesn’t – I don’t want it.

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