Our Olive Trees
In 1999, on a gentle coastal hill in Sonoma County, Sam Saltonstall planted a combination of classic olive varieties, including Frantoio, Leccino, Maurino, Pendolino, and others. The 10-acre orchard thrived, and in 2002, the first harvest produced exception fruit that was pressed into the first Saltonstall Estates Olive Oil.
Sam’s goal was to produce olive oils that contained the highest possible amount of desirable antioxidantelements, such as Vitamins A and B. By doing so, he also created oils with incredible complexity, nuance and 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 polyphenolsand antioxidants which give both the unique spicy flavor and life enhancing benefits.
As the orchard has matured, Saltonstall Estates organic oils have won numerous awards and recognitions, including the prestigious “Best Super Premium Olive Oil” at the Los Angeles County Fair.
Saltonstall Estates 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 antioxidants more fully.
Sam chose Tuscan Frantoio for 65% of our orchard. This variety provides the spicy tang as well as the high percentage of monounsaturated fats. The Leccinos and Maurinos comprise 20% of the trees and add a fruity component to the oil. Pendolinos act as a pollinator and are 15% of the trees.
Once the olive has been detached from the plant, the biochemical development of the fruit comes to an end, so the choice of harvest time represents the most timely decision in determining the characteristics of quality oil. A delayed harvest does not only diminish total quality; it 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 using a state-of-the-art blade mill not allowing the temperature to exceed 68℉, thereby producing an unrefined expeller cold pressed oil.
Our goal has been to produce the healthiest California olive oil available in the United States, and in the process, we have created a gold medal winning gourmet delight! The same properties which give the medicinal oil its taste are also those elements which fight cancer, heart disease, diabetes and aging.
In 2012 our Super Premium Olive Oil earned the Best Of Class award and a Gold Medal at the International Super Premium Olive Oil Competition in Los Angeles.