Our Olive Trees
In 1999, on a gentle coastal hill in Sonoma County, Sam Saltonstall planted a combination of classic olive varieties, including Frantoio, Lechino, Pendolino, Maurino and others. The 10-acre orchard thrived, and in 2002 the first harvest produced exception fruit that was pressed into the first Saltonstall Olive Oil.
Sam’s goal was to produce olive oils that contained the highest possible amount of desirable anti-oxidant elements, like vitamins A and B. By doing so he also created oils with incredible complexity, nuance and a superior taste.
The region’s cool coastal air blankets the estate in the evening and early mornings during the summer months, allowing for the slow maturation of the fruit. Delay in ripening gives nature time to form the polyphenols and anti-oxidants which give both the unique spicy flavor and life enhancing benefits.
As the orchard has matured Saltonstall Olive Oils have won numerous awards and recognitions, including the prestigious “Best Extra Virgin Olive Oil” at the Los Angeles County Fair.
Saltonstall Estate was founded in an area of Sonoma County where morning fog and the afternoon sea breeze cool the long hot summer days. This allows the fruit to mature slowly, giving nature time to develop the anti-oxidants more fully.
Sam chose Tuscan Frontoio for 65% of our orchard. This variety provides the spicy tang as well as the high percentage of monounsaturated fats. Lechino’s and Maurino’s comprise 20% of the trees and add a fruity component to the oil. Pendolino’s act as a pollinator and are 15% of the trees.
Once the olive has been detached from the plant, the bio-chemical development of the fruit comes to an end, so the choice of harvest time represents the most decisive decision in determining the characteristics of a quality oil. A delayed harvest does not only diminish total quality but also affects the relative distribution of different phenols. By harvesting early when the fruit is just beginning to turn color, we achieve a higher percentage of monounsaturated fat and lower percentage saturated fats.
Within hours of harvest, we crush the olives with a state of the art blade mill not allowing the temperature to exceed 68 F thereby producing an unrefined expeller cold pressed oil.
Our goal has been to produce the healthiest olive oil available in the United States, but in the process we have created a gold medal winning gourmet delight! The same properties which give the oil its taste are also those elements which fight cancer, heart disease, diabetes and aging.
In 2012 our Extra Virgin Olive Oil earned the Best Of Class award and a Gold Medal at the International Extra Virgin Olive Oil Competition in Los Angeles.