After 10 Successful Years Farming, Mother-Daughter Team Pivots to Oleotourism

The producers behind the Groves on 41 have parlayed award-winning production into a tourism operation focused on sustainable farming and cooking with olive oil.

Jennifer and Karen Tallent.
May. 20, 2022
By Jasmina Nevada
Jennifer and Karen Tallent.

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The Groves on 41 is based in California and appro­pri­ately named as the com­pany is located in the rolling hills of Templeton near the State Route 41, which con­nects the Central Coast with the San Joaquin Valley and the Sierra Nevada.

This fam­ily busi­ness is run by Karen and Jennifer Tallent, a dynamic mother and daugh­ter duo who com­bined their knowl­edge and pas­sion and tal­ent for life with their pre­vi­ous careers to set up a work­ing olive farm.

Olives are very for­giv­ing. They have taught us so much about life; they are so hardy and resilient.- Jennifer Tallent, co-owner, The Groves on 41

The com­pany took root in 2010, with the first olive trees planted in 2011 and has expanded ever since.

The Tallents have faced set­backs and chal­lenges, but through per­se­ver­ance, ded­i­ca­tion, hard work, pas­sion and belief in their farm, they found the resilience to sur­pass the stum­bling blocks and suc­ceed in their new ven­ture.

See Also:Producer Profiles

From the begin­ning, they took a hands-on approach and had to learn the olive busi­ness from the soil to fruition. Karen Tallent told Olive Oil Times about some of this year’s chal­lenges.

The year’s not over yet, but so far, we had to change our bot­tle and labels when we could no longer find our 200-mil­li­liter bot­tle,” she said. All gift sets and die-cut foam had to be reassessed, too.”

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However, the Tallents’ hard work and years of expe­ri­ence were awarded again at the 2022 NYIOOC World Olive Oil Competition, where the Templeton-based pro­duc­ers earned a Gold Award for a robust Koroneiki mono­va­ri­etal and a Silver Award for a medium Arbequina.

Their port­fo­lio con­sists of a range of olive oils, includ­ing a lim­ited-edi­tion field blend. Other prod­ucts include olive oils infused with pra­line, jalapeño, cin­na­mon and chipo­tle.

Tallent said win­ning awards at the NYIOOC was espe­cially sig­nif­i­cant as they are a small-scale fam­ily oper­a­tion.

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The Groves on 41

We are a small fam­ily farm with 4,000 trees planted,” she said. This is a huge honor for us. We work hard, so this recog­ni­tion means the world to us.”

In her pre­vi­ous career, Jennifer worked for the Ritz Carlton Hotel and Balboa Bay Beach Club. She con­cluded that it was time to apply all her hos­pi­tal­ity skills and expe­ri­ence to cre­ate a vaca­tion rental for those inter­ested in vaca­tion­ing in the olive groves.

We have a delight­fully ele­gant farm­house listed on Airbnb or via our web­site,” Jennifer Tallent said. Guest reviews are off-the-charts. They seem to like the place as much as we do. We’re so grate­ful when they select our prop­erty and then wind up return­ing, too.”

Aside from overnight stays, the Tallents also offer farm tours that demon­strate the olive oil pro­duc­tion process, host pri­vate events and give talks about sus­tain­able olive farm­ing prac­tices.

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The Groves on 41

They said their vaca­tion rental is an ideal vehi­cle to attract clien­tele wish­ing to com­bine a vaca­tion with an expe­ri­ence of olive farm­ing.

However, one of the main focuses of every inter­ac­tion they have is edu­ca­tion and teach­ing guests what good olive oils should taste like.

They said the key ele­ments are find­ing oil that is light on the palate, has bal­anced fruiti­ness, bit­ter­ness and pun­gency with a solid fin­ish at the back of the throat and a cer­tain olive oil cough.”

We have a lot of fun demon­strat­ing this and arm­ing our guests to go any­where, includ­ing at home, to check their pantry and let their palate deter­mine the fresh­ness of the olive oils,” Tallent said. The fresher, the bet­ter it is for you, too.”

We then move quickly into dis­cus­sions about olive oil use in every­day cook­ing and meals,” she added. Our cook­ing demon­stra­tions at part­ner kitchens include olive oil for break­fast, lunch, din­ner and dessert. We pro­vide recipe cards and serv­ing sug­ges­tions with all our fun fla­vors and extra vir­gin olive oil because they don’t do you any good sit­ting in the bot­tle.”

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The Groves on 41

Like many pro­duc­ers who do not come from gen­er­a­tional farms, the Tallents believe that any­one will­ing to put in the work and meet the steep learn­ing curve can get into olive farm­ing.

Be pre­pared for a learn­ing expe­ri­ence that will tax all your skillsets and leave you ful­filled at the end of the day with no prob­lems sleep­ing,” they said. You will just look for­ward to the next day.”

Olives are very for­giv­ing,” Jennifer added. They have taught us so much about life; they are so hardy and resilient.”

Currently, they are look­ing for­ward to the next stage of devel­op­ment and expand­ing their oper­a­tions.

We would like to part­ner with a larger grower, per­haps in the Northern California Corning area,” Tallent said. We would ben­e­fit from hav­ing a full tast­ing room and com­mer­cial kitchen where we could really dig into the uses, recipes and demos.”

Inviting guest chefs and host­ing retreat ses­sions and becom­ing a larger agri­tourism oper­a­tion would ben­e­fit a larger pro­ducer as well as us,” she added. The indus­try is still in its early stages of edu­cat­ing the pub­lic about good, fresh olive oil, and the pub­lic is truly eager to learn.”


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