Learning How Olive Oil is Made in Ojai

travel, California, Ojai, MercedesWhen Catherine came to pick me up for our first adventure in Ojai, it was in a cherry red Mercedes, oh yeah.Β How do I look in the passenger seat? Our first stop:Β Ojai Olive Oil, forΒ a fascinating few hours. In addition to learning what kinds of oils different olives yield, we learned so much about the industry. Instead of using a press, most olive oil manufacturers now use a centrifuge. Ojai’s equipment is Italian (of course!) and goes through 800 lbs of olives in an hour. They’ve decided that keeping the pits in yields better taste — so they’re not separated until the very end! Ojai Olive Oil’s owner, Ron Asqith, will take you through the whole process, from washing to paste to the separation of all water, if you take his tour.

At this modest family farm, all of the olives are picked by hand. Ojai Olive Oil makes oils from several different kinds of olives, including Kalamata, Leccino and Lechin de Sevilla. I had no idea they made oil from Kalamatas, which I’m addicted to in Greek salads!

Ojai, olive oil, California, travel

The owner, Ron Asquith, showing us a basket that can hold about 50 lbs of olives — enough to make ONE gallon of yummy extra virgin Ojai olive oil!

Ojai, olive oil, California, travel


The oils are kept in barrels in bright-colored barrels like this one. Mandarin flavored — yum! I took home a bottle of the basil.

Ojai, olive oil, travel, California

Ojai Olive Oil’s signature blue bottles. The tasting was fun. Sipping olive oil leaves a slight burning in your throat. (We were offered bread, but what fun is that?) We also sampled their balsamic vinegars in ridiculously delicious flavors like violet and peach, my personal fav. Now the question is, what do you do with peach balsamic vinegar?

Ojai, olive oil, California, travel


On our way out of Ojai Olive Oil, Ron suggested we drive up to Meditation Mount to see the view. He was right. It was stunning!

Ojai, California, travel

There’s so much to see and do Ojai: wine, shopping and cocktails.

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I'm a life-long travel junkie journalist who works hard to find adventure in everyday life after two years of travel and expat living.

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  1. stunning pic of the meditation mount…

  2. Thanks, Flip! It was so beautiful up there.

  3. So cool! Love the idea of California olive oil. I totally want to find an Italian olive oil producer to find out how they make it here.

  4. It was really interesting! I never want to buy store-bought again. And I’m now on the lookout for ways to use the flavored ones I bought! (Basil olive oil, peach balsamic.)

  5. Interesting flavors. I would have had to bring home for than a bottle.

  6. I would love to see this! Of course, olives are my favorite food…

  7. I don’t even cook really, and I walked away with three bottles. My friend, a real chef and foodie, bought six!

    I loved seeing the olives. I was surprised that they made oil from Kalamatas for some reason!

  8. I didn’t know Popeye’s girl was from Ojai!! *heeeh guhguhguh*

    p.s. I know… lame but I couldnt resist πŸ™‚

  9. I want to do this. So cool!! And tasty. I want to try some of your olive oil! Next wine night?? πŸ™‚

  10. Haha Shaun!! You are always funny, even when cheesy. πŸ˜‰

    Totally, Diana! The peach balsamic is ridiculous!

  11. Mmmmm – I LOVE olive oil. They all have a different special taste to me…so delicious. Have never visited a place where I can learn how they are made, though. Love the hot little car!

  12. Who cares about the olive oil, give me that car please!!! Hahaha just kidding I’m SUCH a huge olive oil fan. What a fun experience!!!

  13. I looved the car! We had so much fun, even though we felt ridiculous zipping around such a laidback town in it.

  14. You are totally California dreaming in that car. Love it! Also like the fact that you took a different trip – for olive oil. Sign me up! I love olive oil. And now I go eat. πŸ™‚

  15. Haha we had fun with it! The weather was great, so we cruised around with the top down. Now, it’s starting to get cold!

  16. I could eat bread, balsamic vinegar and olive oil all day long πŸ™‚ mmm

  17. Why is it that I hate the olive but love the oil? Hmmmm…. πŸ™‚

  18. Yummmm…

  19. The different flavors sound delicious! And I’m sure I could find something to do with peach balsamic – a summer salad dressing of some sort?

  20. Interesting that the pits make a difference. And I had no idea the centrifuge was becoming the norm. Will they now change the labels that used to tout “cold pressed”? I’ll put olive farm tour on my must-do list.

  21. That was my question! I kept calling it a press. We also found the dialogue about when to take the pits out very interesting.

  22. Peach balsamic vinegar? Perfect for salad dressings and marinades, I’d say!

    I lived in Ojai for a while while I was growing up. Never knew about the olive oil, but I still do miss the oranges!

  23. The oranges were amazing! Cat is a real foodie and went wild. She knew all the different varieties!

  24. I’ve done tons of wine tastings but never learned about olive oil. Sounds fascinating!

  25. You look very, very cool in that passenger seat πŸ˜‰

  26. It was a very tough rental to return!

  27. Mmm, I’m craving fresh bread dipped in Olive Oil and balsamic vinegar now. I would love to go on an olive oil tour. Looks very interesting.

  28. Me, too, Deb… I might need to make a snack after dinner!

  29. Sounds like a fun outing – cool car, fun tour and beautiful autumn colours. The bottles look very elegant, too.

  30. It was an amazing few days for all of those reasons!

  31. 50 lbs of olives to make one gallon of oil! This why I don’t make olive oil!

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