Greetings Foodies! Welcome to the first of the newly dubbed Foodie Adventures! Today I’m going to write about a trip that Mister and I took to the Queen Creek Olive Mill a few weekends ago. Located in Queen Creek, Arizona (about an hour outside of Phoenix) the Queen Creek Olive Mill boasts 16 varieties of olives and is the only commercial olive oil producer in the state. The Olive Mill is 25 acres with over 7000 trees.
We started our trip by purchasing our tickets for the tour and decided to have some lunch. The lunch menu was primarily sandwiches and salads so we decided to go for the sandwiches. We got a Kalamata Sandwich(Olive Mill Kalamata salami, Genoa salami, capicola, herb roasted tomatoes, seasonal greens, provolone, red onion with White Balsamic & Herb Crema, grilled baguette) and a Lucca Sandwich (Herb roasted turkey breast, Brie, sliced apple, seasonal greens, Caramelized Red Onion & Fig Tapenade, brioche bun). Both were great and packed with lots of flavor. It’s not hard to see why the Kalamata was featured on Food Network’s The Best Thing I Ever Ate (Beau MacMillan has great taste).
After lunch we wandered around and enjoyed the live music. We noticed a coffee bar and as coffee lovers we were glad we did! It was a local coffee roaster called Superstition Coffee. Family owned and operated, they roast their own beans on site. We tried the espresso and were told that rather than a dark roast they use a medium roast because the fat in the bean creates a better tasting and less acidic espresso (yes we took a bag of it home). We enjoyed our coffee and biscotti and then headed to our tour.
On our tour we were taken into the processing room and were told about the various steps that the Queen Creek Olive Mill follows to make their olive oil. I won’t give all of the facts away (you’ll need to take the tour for that!) but I will share a few of the interesting things we learned:
- The Queen Creek Olive Mill uses no pesticides, not because they use an organic alternative but rather because the only pest attracted to the olive trees cannot survive the Arizona heat.
- The Queen Creek Olive Mill uses solar panels and estimates that they put 30% of the energy used back into the system.
- It takes 50-100 gallons of olive paste to make 1 gallon of olive oil.
- The olive oil must be mechanically processed without the use of heat or chemicals to maintain the name Extra Virgin Olive Oil
- The owners of the Queen Creek Olive Mill are certified Olive Oil Sommeliers of which there are only about 20.
Following our tour we did a little shopping and a little more wandering around the grounds. Not only do they carry their own products, but other local vendors’ goods as well. The specialty olive oils are amazing and available to sample. We ended up buying the Blood Orange Olive Oil (which got used for chicken wings at our Super Bowl Party), Caramelized Onion and Fig Tapenade, and a bourbon barbeque sauce.
Overall, we had a really great time at the Queen Creek Olive Mill and definitely recommend it anyone in the area or visiting. It was great to experience a local food source and their products. The tour is also very informative and will teach you some facts that you probably didn’t know about olive oil and how its made. I look forward to returning in the future! Until next time!
Enjoy What You Eat!