January at the Farm

 

What do we do in January at an Olive Farm and Mill?

 

olives-in-mist-9

 

Celebrate the New Year and say thank you to all our guests, growers, and staff!

The biggest job of all!  Clean the mill

Certify all our oils as Extra Virgin, done and completed – all pass with flying colors!

Make decisions about competitions, what oils to what competitions and why

Make Limoncello from our wonderful citrus trees

Make homemade barrel aged manhattans – a treat in a few months

Put away (sadly) all the Christmas decorations as we loved our Ginger Bread House

Get ready for Super Bowl Sunday treats here at The Farm

Order seeds for the garden

Order trees and replant

Plant early seeds in the greenhouse

Build retaining walls

Plant new lavender in the new planting areas

Finish pruning and weeding around all the trees

Turn the compost

Clean the owl boxes

Watch the hawk cruse the canal for errant rodents (and hope it succeeds)

Apply compost to all the trees

Apply olive pits around the small trees

Take care of our chickens, a fun daily task

Clean the refrigerators and freezers Ugh!

Give tours to everyone who is on vacation and wonders what we do here in January

Get organized for 2017 by planning all of next year’s events, cooking classes, and activities

Watch our web site for all our 2017 classes and events

 

Are we done yet??? Anyone want to help?

 

Ciao,

Ann

 

 

Lemon, Lime, Mandarin, Jalapeno – Co-Milled Oils

 

 

A hallmark time at IL Fiorello is when all the extra virgin olive oil is finished and “put to bed” so to speak, and we can have fun making our co-milled oils.

Our promise to you is that we will never make infused oils, only co-milled.  Co-milling is when we run beautiful olives and luscious citrus fruit and jalapenos through the entire milling process.

10,000 lbs. of olives and lots of eureka lemons, tangelos, Bearss limes, and finally 800 lbs. of jalapenos arrive at the mill at the same time. SO much fruit to cut and prepare and enjoy. The best is having a small fire and roasting jalapenos for our lunch. I put one on my hamburger, delicious.

 

dscn7488

 

The interesting part of making co-milled oils is to find all the perfect fruit and then match the fruit with the best olives. The proportion will change each year depending on the flavor of the fruit and the flavor of the olives. There is no magic proportion. We run the mill slowly and carefully to extract as much fruit flavor as possible.

The aroma is fantastic. The opportunities for pairing with food is unlimited.

We celebrate at the completion of the milling as this long milling season has come to an end. Thank you to our growers. Congratulations all around. Beautiful oil. Great flavor of co-milled oils.

Great friendships and an incredible work ethic from our staff.

Thanks to all. Happy Holidays

 

Here are some ideas for using our co-milled oils:

Lemon co-milled oil over our olive oil Gelato, add salt and this is perfect taste treat.
Just ask any of our staff or guests!

Lemon co-milled oil on roast chicken to brighten the flavor. I use lemon oil in baking for
cakes and our traditional pizzelles.

Jalapeno-Lime co-milled oil over scrambled eggs, tacos, and huevos rancheros.
Or simply just drizzle on a half of an avocado with a little salt. Perfect.

Mandarin co-milled oil mixed with our honey, then warmed, serve over French toast
or English muffins

Mandarin co-milled oil to finish a Butternut squash soup or on baked pumpkin, squash
or sweet potatoes

Lime co-milled oil on sushi, or fish tacos, or grilled halibut. Our Lime brightens and
adds flavor to roast chicken and any vegetable dish.

 

Ciao

Ann

 

 

 

Pétillant-Naturel (Pet-Nat)

 

IL Fiorello presents a Pet-Nat made from grapes grown in the Suisun Valley, Malvasia Bianca.

Crafted into beautiful effervescent wine by local winemaker, Faith Armstrong-Foster.

onward-logo

Faith says, “This Suisun Valley Pét-Nat is floral and fruity, but refreshingly bone-dry. The opening aromatics are like sticking your nose in a fermentation vat, with yeasty brioche notes and lively youthful freshness. To follow are notes of night blooming jasmine, citrus blossom, melon rind, warm Kaffir lime scones with preserved lemon…and a refreshing hint of sea air….and did I mention soft tiny delicate bubbles!”

This wine stays true to the nature of an authentic Pétillant Naturel style wine: I encouraged native yeast fermentation, which finished in the bottle, with no sugar or other juice added. This is a pure expression of sparkling wine and she my friends, is a spirited lady! 
The Pétillant Naturel is Onward’s sparkling expression of Malvasia Bianca from Capp Inn Ranch.

The wine was moved from tank to bottle by gravity. Everything to do with bottling lady Pét-Nat has to be done by hand because she is still fermenting (meaning full of CO2 gas) and needs to be handled with care. I bottled the wine with a small amount of lees, allowing the fermentation to complete in bottle and left the wine un-disgorged (with sediment) in bottle. I feel this adds purity and complexity that would be lost if removed. The bottles were aged while the fermentation finished, then labeled and left finished with a crown cap.

 

pt-nat-2-blog

 

Pétillant-Naturel (sparkling natural) is a term for sparkling wine made in the méthode ancestrale, the ancient method or traditional method. This means a wine is bottled before the primary fermentation is completed; and is without the addition of secondary yeasts or sugars. Champagne, from France, is made in the traditional méthode champenoise. This method is when a finished wine undergoes a secondary fermentation in the bottle with the addition of yeasts and sugars.

The ancient method of Petillant-Naturel, produces a simpler, more rustic sparkler than Champagne, one that is traditionally cloudy, unfiltered, and often bottled with a crown cap (like a beer) rather than a cork. The end product is also unpredictable; opening each bottle is a surprise, evocative of the time and place where it was bottled.

 

IL Fiorello Holiday Suggestions

This delicate sparkling wine is just delicious with savory foods, or on popcorn dressed with our Extra Virgin oils, and by itself on the back deck to celebrate fabulous wine and the holidays

Store cold and serve cold

Happy Holidays to all from Olive us at IL Fiorello!

 

 

Ciao

Ann

 

 

Pizzelles – A Christmas Tradition

 

When the final co-milled oil is done, the mill is clean, and the weather turns cold; I know that it is time to bring out the pizzelle maker.

Pizzelle are delicious, tiny, very beautiful cookies. Named because they are flat and sweet. Like little lady sweet pizzas.

I have been making pizzelles since 1975, yes a long time. My first pizzelle iron was given to me as a wedding present.pizzelle-iron

We make pizzelle at IL Fiorello all December for taste treats for our guests. The sweet cookies pair very well with our presentation of Italian Moscato wine. A little glass, a sweet pizzelle and life is good in the afternoon.

batter

The basic recipe starts out with a dozen eggs, 4 cups of flour and anisette. I think my family just drank the anisette in the afternoon. I personally like the flavor of lemon zest and Limoncello in the pizzelles.

You may use any flavoring you want. Orange zest, chocolate, lemon, anisette, walnut, chestnut, use your imagination.

A particular favorite of mine is to make lots of flat pizzelles, and make a “sandwich” with the filling of dulce de leche. Place the cookies over a mug of warm coffee and allow the dulce de leche to melt just a little. This is the way to begin the morning.

If you are in Italy, you may want to make a little “café correcto” by adding a little grappa in your cup to ward off the winter chills, before going into the grove to prune your olive trees.

Enjoy the recipes and if you have any questions about how to make these beautiful cookies just come on over. You will find us making them early in the morning for our staff and all afternoon for guests.

pizzelle-for-web

 

 

Ciao

Ann

 

 

MILLING OLIVES

 

There are always so many questions about milling olives, and making extra virgin olive oil.

Here is the simplified synopsis:  good fruit, meaning good olives, makes good oil!

 

The process

  1. Olives are delivered to the mill the same day they are harvested

step1

 

2. Olives are inspected and photographed and the temperature is documented

step-2

 

3. Olives are weighed (olives minus bin = weight of fruit)

 

4. Olives are washed, very lightly

step-4

 

5. Olives (including pit, skin and tissue) are crushed in the hammer mill crusher

step-5

 

6. Olives are malaxed (mixing and warming)

step-6

 

7. Centrifuge Number 1, the Decanter, separates material (pit, skin and tissue) from the oil

step-7

 

8. Centrifuge Number 2, the Valente, clarifying the oil

step-8

 

9. Storage 62° F, cold, dark and under an inert gas

 

10. Decanting is important and should happen in 6-10 weeks after milling

 

You can make good oil with good olives and good machinery. We learn new techniques every year and experience is valuable. With climate change, and general warming, we at IL Fiorello, have made significant changes to our methods and internal temperatures during milling.

 

The result is great oil.

 

Ciao,

Ann

 

 

DECISIONS AT HARVEST TIME

 

An interesting question is when to harvest olives. This seems to be an easy decision. The answer; when they are ripe. But the real answer is actually much more complicated.

Before you plant an olive tree, you should understand what kind of olive oil you want to produce and what flavor do you want to present at your table.  Begin with the variety characteristics as each variety of olive has its own profile, such as green fruit, ripe fruit, robust, mild, buttery, pungent, and aromatic.

 

olives

 

To begin, you should know each of your varieties and their ripening process. Remember all olives start out green and all olives ripen to black. They ripen from the outside in so you may have a fully black olive but the inside is brilliant green and not even close to being ready.

Each variety ripens at a different time and different rate. You really have to know your olives, the climate, the mill you will be working with and whether you want a robust oil or a mellow oil. So the decision is to harvest early, or harvest late. Harvest early and you will have a greener tasting oil, much more robust with higher levels of polyphenols and antioxidants. Harvest later and you will have a more mellow oil with a shorter shelf life and lower polyphenols.  

Other questions are equally important.  Who is going to harvest your olives and what are the costs of harvesting? We estimate that cost to be the most expensive part of making oil. If you intend to rely on friends and family or crowd sourcing you can save money but you may not get all the olives harvested.  Harvesting is hard work. We recommend that olives are milled within 12 to 24 hours of picking. Hopefully it will be cool enough to store them properly before transport to your milling site. Keep your olives in the shade. Keep them cool, to prevent decay of the fruit.

 

IMG_2705

 

Decisions continue throughout the actual milling process so talk to your miller about your preferences. Talk early and often so that both sides know the process and the goals.

After milling the decisions about caring for the oil after milling, decanting, storage, storage temperature, and bottling will be the topic of another blog.

So many decisions! But knowing your olives, having good fruit, and engaging in discussions with your miller make the whole process much better. And much more fun.

Enjoy the harvest season.

 

Ciao
Ann

 

 

 

GOLDEN GAZPACHO WITH  AVOCADO–LIME CRÈME FRAICHE

 

Yield: approximately 1 to 1½ Gallons

 

10 large yellow tomatoes, cut into halves
2 cups chopped yellow onions
1 jalapeno, stem removed and chopped
1 Tablespoon chopped garlic
2 Tablespoons olive oil
1 Tablespoon salt
Juice and zest of 1 orange
½ cup dry sherry
1 Teaspoon ground cumin
6 cups chicken stock or water

 

  • In a baking dish, coat the tomatoes with the garlic, 1 Tablespoon of the olive oil and 1 Teaspoon of salt. Roast them at 450°F for 40-45 minutes until they begin to caramelize on top.
  • Meanwhile, in a sauce pan, heat the remaining olive oil and sauté the onions and jalapenos until soft.
  • Add the orange juice and zest, sherry, cumin and remaining salt.
  • Bring to a boil, add the chicken stock and simmer for 35-40 minutes. Let cool slightly.
  • Using a blender, puree the soup base.
  • Strain and chill before adding the vegetable garnish.
  • Re-season after chilling by adjusting salt and lime juice as necessary.

gazpacho for mailchimp

Tomatoes

 

cherry tommies

 

It is tomato time, as all you gardeners well know. The gardens are overflowing with beautiful fruit.
There are tomato festivals everywhere, and so many different kinds of tomatoes to eat.
Red, green, striped, cherry, pear, yellow and even a purple one.

The bigger question is, what to do with this bounty? Here are some of our suggestions:

 

  • Sun-dried tomatoes to freeze and use all winter, in soups, stews, polenta and on pizzas. We have a small dehydrator and it only takes about 24 hours on low temperature to have a finished product. We will be serving dried tomatoes with goat cheese as snacks.
  • Yellow tomato gazpacho for a cooling refreshment. We will be serving this at our Suisun Valley Harvest festival August 28. The finishing touch will be avocado crema and a hint of something hot for the adventurous taster.
  • Red gazpacho for the more traditional look and taste, combined with cucumbers, peppers and lots of salt and olive oil this is a classic Spanish dish. Serve with toasted bread for the perfect evening meal. This is a make ahead and let it sit overnight to make the flavors better. Serve with sliced avocado as a topping.
  • A simple composed salad of tomatoes, cucumbers, mozzarella cheese and olives.
  • Tomato sauce cooked down to a beautiful thick paste and then frozen for use the entire year.
  • Tomato tart, a luscious tart with a pastry crust, fresh ricotta, and layers of lovely tomatoes. Baked early in the morning and served at dinner tonight.
  • Pure delicious tomatoes with salt just warm from the garden. Better yet take the salt and a knife and go to the garden and eat a tomato while you admire your bounty.
  • Sandwiches of thick tomato slices, garlic, cucumbers homemade bread and homemade mayonnaise.

 

Here is my recipe for homemade mayonnaise. Easy as pie to make and very delicious. Only 5-10 minutes to make this silky and luscious mayo. Leccino adds a lovely fragrance, and Mission will make it quite bold.
If at the end you add two stalks of cooked asparagus, it makes the mayo brilliant green.
Kids and adults will love the color. Fun with food is our motto!

 

HOMEMADE MAYONNAISE

INGREDIENTS:

1 large egg yolk, at room temperature

1/2 teaspoon mustard Dijon is good but you can use any favorite mustard

3/4 cup extra virgin olive oil, Leccino or Mission Extra Virgin Olive Oil

1 teaspoon white-wine vinegar

1 1/2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice or more to taste

1/4 teaspoon white pepper, finely ground

 

METHOD:

  • Whisk together the room temperature egg yolk, the mustard, and the 1/4 teaspoon salt, and combine well
  • Add about 1/4 cup oil very slowly, whisking constantly until mixture begins to thicken.
  • Whisk in the vinegar and the lemon juice
  • Add the remaining 1/2 cup oil in a very slow, thin stream, whisking constantly until well blended
  • Continue vigorously whisking until smooth, and all the oil is incorporated
  • Whisk in salt and white pepper to taste.

This makes about a cup. This can also be made in a blender, but it is more fun to whisk this in a bowl.
The vinegar and the lemon juice add the balance and the acidity to the finished mayo. Eat tomatoes fresh from the garden. Healthy, delicious with super good olive oil- it is a perfect treat!

 

composed photo

 

 

A SENSE OF PLACE

FOOD PAIRING and TASTE
OIL  * WINE  * FOOD

At the Visitors Center at IL Fiorello, we present seasonal food pairings with our extra virgin olive oils and balsamic vinegar reductions. We are proud to source most of our food pairings directly from our organic vegetable and herb gardens.

Guests always ask what oils, what foods and what wines should be paired together. They always wonder why and how we do different pairings. There is no magic to pairing, usually if you like it together, that is the best pairing for you.

If you really look at the origin of food, wine and oil, you will recognize natural pairings.  The geographic origin of the food, wine, or oil tells an important historical story. Where food is grown, wine is grown, and olives are grown together. Climate, soil, weather, and people all impart their influences.

Consumers have, and should have, different preferences, so you should be eating food, drinking wine, and using olive oil that you love and enjoy. You all have different palates but some people have different levels of sensitivity and tolerances.  We often ask people if they enjoy coffee, and if so, most likely the expected bitterness of extra virgin olive oil will be a pleasant experience in the tasting room. The bitterness and pungency of extra virgin olive oil often astounds people but when the oils are paired with food, taste chemistry is at its best. The food and the oils shine.

Consider what food you will be serving at home and what that flavor profile means to you.

Here are some interesting food, wine and oil pairings that grow together. Something to consider that you might not have appreciated until now. We have tried to give examples of the cultural matching of food, wine and olive oil. The fun challenge is to find some of your own best matches.

Don’t allow people tell you how a wine or oil is “supposed” to taste. Taste it yourself, make a decision and then have a great discussion with your friends about your findings. Different people have different tastes and that is where the fun begins. Play with your food, that what we do every day at IL Fiorello.

This should be fun and enjoyable, and above all, the food, wine, and the olive oil should be delicious. Come and enjoy the experience of taste at IL Fiorello.

Ciao

Ann

Taste & Pairing

 

Custom Milling

Bring us your olives to be crushed in our state of the art Italian mill.

read more...

Tastings

Taste extra virgin and co-milled flavored olive oils.

read more...

Il Fiorello Blog

Keeping you up to date on all things olive and olive oil.

read more...

Custom Milling

Bring us your olives to be crushed in our state of the art Italian mill.

read more...

Tastings

Taste extra virgin and co-milled flavored olive oils.

read more...

Il Fiorello Blog

Keeping you up to date on all things olive and olive oil.

read more...