Business

Temecula Partners With Home Builder to Create Community Centered Around Olives

Temecula Olive Oil Company is working with a real estate developer on their upcoming Miralon residential project, a modern community built around olive groves.

Palm Springs, California
Aug. 29, 2017
By Joanne Drawbaugh
Palm Springs, California

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At a time when the US olive oil indus­try con­tin­ues to grow more com­pet­i­tive, com­pa­nies are look­ing for cre­ative new ways to dif­fer­en­ti­ate them­selves from the rest. While some have forged part­ner­ships with for­eign pro­duc­ers or focused on their prod­ucts’ health ben­e­fits, one com­pany has taken a decid­edly more social approach.

We are cer­tain this embrac­ing of olive cul­ture is the begin­ning of a soci­etal trend.- Thom Curry, Temecula Olive Oil Company

Temecula Olive Oil Company, based in California, recently part­nered with the real estate devel­oper Freehold Communities on their new project, Miralon, a 300-acre hous­ing project set to be built in Palm Springs, California. Miralon is slated to house over 2,500 res­i­dents and will begin con­struc­tion in just a few months.

The land upon which Miralon will sit was once a golf course com­mu­nity devel­oped by SunCal. Freehold Communities acquired it last year after Lehman Brothers, SunCal’s financ­ing part­ner, was forced to fore­close on the prop­erty.

After weigh­ing their options, Freehold ulti­mately decided to aban­don the orig­i­nal golf course plan in order to gain appeal to a broader audi­ence of poten­tial buyers. Instead, the devel­oper has opted to focus the new com­mu­nity around an olive grove paired with com­mu­nity gar­dens that will not only pro­duce olive oil and other pro­duce but also pro­vide hiking trails, parks and a bucolic back­drop for res­i­dents.

In addi­tion to offer­ing a unique expe­ri­ence for those moving to Miralon, the change in direc­tion poses envi­ron­men­tal ben­e­fits. Golf courses require a lot of water to stay lush and playable, an impru­dent option con­sid­er­ing California’s recent strug­gles with drought. Meanwhile, “olives are well-suited for Palm Springs’ cli­matic con­di­tions, which at times include high tem­per­a­tures and sig­nif­i­cant wind,” said Bradley Shuckhart, Freehold’s California divi­sion pres­i­dent.

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The groves sup­port Miralon’s appeal as a health-cen­tered com­mu­nity, which is intended to attract first-time mil­len­nial home buyers and more estab­lished baby boomers alike. To this end, the com­mu­nity will also include “two pools, a spa, an out­door recre­ation center and a gym,” accord­ing to an arti­cle pub­lished by Yahoo Finance. Shuckhart also noted the roman­tic asso­ci­a­tion that olives often carry.

“As far as olive trees in the desert go, this is what you might call an oasis. On the one hand, it’s about as green as it gets. Thousands of trees. Leaves and olives every­where you look. On the other hand, it’s all about let­ting the land give back. By that, we mean olive oil that comes straight from our groves to your plate. So all it takes to start the day right is what’s right in front of you.”

- Freehold’s Miralon brochure

In a state­ment pro­vided to Olive Oil Times, Temecula CEO Thom Curry asserted that Temecula fits the project per­fectly. He explained that since its incep­tion in 2001, the com­pany has been involved in plant­ing olive groves and boasts a his­tory with agri­cul­tural home­sites. Beyond this exper­tise, Curry noted that the Temecula brand also meshes with Miralon’s desired aes­thetic.

“Incorporating involve­ment in the groves, some­thing we have been doing for years, with walk­ing paths and out­door grove dining areas, com­bined with formal and infor­mal edu­ca­tional oppor­tu­ni­ties brings this olive cul­ture directly to the res­i­dents and vis­i­tors,” Curry wrote.

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Temecula will also over­see the olive oil pro­duc­tion from the groves’ har­vests by bring­ing in their “state of the art mobile mill” to create fresh olive oil for the res­i­dents and sur­round­ing com­mu­nity in order to “com­plete the expe­ri­ence of the con­cept.”

In terms of what the Miralon project means for Temecula’s future, Curry said one answer lies in how the aging baby boomer pop­u­la­tion along with “engaged younger gen­er­a­tions” con­tinue to seek lifestyles cen­tered around health and well­ness.

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“We feel that this project embod­ies this lifestyle. Based on the inter­est from the press and from devel­op­ers, we are cer­tain this embrac­ing of olive cul­ture is the begin­ning of a soci­etal trend.”