We are growing 50 varieties of tomatoes at IL Fiorello

Little ones, big ones, green ones, yellow ones, and red ones. Black Krim and Evil Olive are two of the more unique varieties in our Farm gardens. The “Love Apple” in France, treasured in Italy and originally from the Americas.

Olive Oil and tomatoes are a grand pairing for summer salads. But my personal favorite is walking to the garden, picking a warm tomato, and popping it in my mouth, allowing the juice to drizzle down my chin. Gardens are where vegetables and people grow. Listen and learn in the garden. Our Farm is organic and very biodiverse. We have 5 vegetable gardens in addition to the 3000 olives and 50 citrus and fig trees. This year we have added 7 beehives. Our Farm manager has been busy.

Although the volunteer sunflowers seem to have taken over the vegetable gardens in front of our Olive Mill. Beautiful. Spectacular. And delicious seeds for the birds. A true symbol of the California summer sun. We may try roasting the seed heads like an ear of corn.



In 1926, a hotel in Capri was a host for a conference on futurism. The caprese was one of their food presentations. Caprese for the Italian Island of Capri. Red tomatoes, white mozzarella, green basil a drizzle of olive oil and a pinch of sea salt and this is the famous insalata caprese. The colors of the Italian flag. And not a drop of Balsamico to dilute the pure colors. Originally with buffalo mozzarella, but now with lovely handmade mozzarella.


Serve the Caprese salad before a meal or as an afternoon snack. Simple, delicious, and perfect. Our certified extra virgin olive oil, not filtered, is absolutely the best pairing, softness in the mouth, acidity, and luscious mouth feel. Healthy, robust flavors with all the treasure of a summer day.


Growing tomatoes is great fun. They require good sun, no wet feet, and a little organic fertilizer. In August you reap the benefits of your work. That is if the deer do not eat all the leaves and blossoms or use the tomato bed for their afternoon nap. As you see I was growing deer not tomatoes. Then this doe returned with twin fawns and nibbled all the roses, and everything else they could find. She jumped the 6-foot fence and enjoyed the buffet.

Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds has an amazing variety of tomato seeds. In the spring, Morning Sun Herb Farm (Vacaville CA)  has little tomato starts already waiting for you to plant in your prepared dirt. Container gardening is a wonderful way for small patios and decks but be careful using terracotta pots as they heat up and “cook” the plants roots. Tomatoes need sun and heat, but the roots need protection.

The blossom of the tomato is edible, and we often use it as a garnish on our Caprese salads. Beautiful and edible. Nothing better.


Tomato blossoms frozen in ice water add beauty to an olive leaf gin martini. A signature drink at IL Fiorello.

At the Olive Mill, we are already getting everything ready for milling season. We are cleaning the mill again and making lists for equipment and backup supplies. This year we will order early to avoid the long system delays that seem to affect everyone. Already growers are contacting us for information about milling services. We will be ready and prepared for milling season.

The new centrifuge is very efficient, and we believe that we will be able to make better oil and have a better extraction rate for ourselves and our customers. Call early to reserve your date for milling. We begin in early October. I will write in the next blog about how to harvest olives, choose the perfect fruit, and our milling practices.

Call us for a tour to understand the process. We welcome all.


Ready, get set, and move forward to the Fall milling season.

Enjoy your tomatoes on the way to the mill.