"Always turn better into best." It serves as a kind of unofficial motto for Apollo Olive Oil.
Apollo Olive Oils are among the few in California that are certified both organic and extra virgin. They are raw, unadulterated, and 100% cold-pressed on the vacuum mill designed in Tuscany to preserve the highest levels of flavor, nutrients, and anti-oxidants.
The olive only really flourishes in a true Mediterranean climate, with which only 1.2% of the earth’s surface is blessed. Our little patch of the Sierra foothills falls into that tiny Mediterranean percentile, which gives us the possibility of exploring the great range of flavors and nuances offered by Old World varieties.
Apollo Olive Oil is a small, family-run business. Our pride is in producing flavorful and healthy olive oils in the finest tradition. We tend our trees with organic, sustainable methods, harvest by hand at optimum ripeness, and exercise great care in milling and blending.
Since 1997 we have planted over 5,000 olive trees comprising some 44 varieties—French, Italian, Spanish, Greek, Tunisian—and have an ever-increasing sense of where each flourishes best. Leccino (Italian) and Tanche (French) do fine in the colder, low-lying areas; Koroneiki (Greek) produces more flavor in steep, rocky places; Picual (Spanish) grows eagerly in all local conditions, while Barouni (Tunisian) responds best to only the loamiest soils. As we verify the ideal locations for each variety, we transplant or graft to accommodate their individual requirements.
True organic farming is respectful. It knows that the earth has its own wisdom, and makes a good partner in food production. The farmer’s role is to encourage the general direction in which particular crops wish to grow, and to nudge them further. By being attentive and helpful, the farmer is midwife to the healthiest plants; the healthiest plants, in turn, bring forth the most nutritious and flavorful fruit.
Extraction really begins with determining the proper moment for harvest. We monitor the weather, anticipate its effect on the ripening of the olives and track the development of sugar and oil content within the olives over the course of the autumn and early winter. Each combination of location and variety has its particular moment of optimum ripeness, and experience indicates when each variety will yield its most mature, and most characteristic, flavors and aromas.
We have learned our craft the old fashioned way—on the classic stone mill/vertical press system; and then refined it by working with the most advanced machinery in the world. We are dedicated to the art of extraction, meaning the nursing forth of every last ounce of flavor and nutrition that the olive contains.
Our aim is not just to make one of the world’s great olive oils. Our aim is to do so in a way that is thoroughly integrated with our lives. Working together to make the oil, and to make it constantly better, is a catalyst for deepening our friendships. And the oil that emerges is never merely a product that we sell to others, but an active component in our lives, as we strive to make them rich, interactive, joyful.