`Oregon Farm Produces Quality EVOO in Cool Climate of Pacific Northwest - Olive Oil Times

Oregon Farm Produces Quality EVOO in Cool Climate of Pacific Northwest

Feb. 25, 2015
Barbara Adams

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It’s about as far from the Mediterranean as you can get, but exper­i­ments in pro­duc­ing qual­ity olive oil from cooler weather olive tree vari­eties are show­ing promise in west­ern Oregon, USA, where David and Carmen Lawrence have eval­u­ated dozens of cul­ti­vars over the past decade.

Owners of Oregon Olive Trees in Amity, Oregon, the Lawrences have suc­cess­fully pro­duced mul­ti­ple runs of 100 per­cent Oregon-grown and Oregon-milled extra vir­gin olive oil. Their exper­i­ments with EVOO pro­duc­tion began in 2008.

In early 2015, the Lawrences chose Agbiolab in Durham, California, to test their sin­gle vari­etal Frantoio oil which was picked on December 23, 2014.

They tested per­ox­ide value, free fatty acid con­tent, absorbency in ultra­vi­o­let and total polyphe­nols, result­ing in the Agbiolab spokesper­son stat­ing that it was a very good oil, indeed.” The Lawrences have recently posted the lab’s cor­re­spon­dence and test results.

Currently, they have more than 70 olive tree cul­ti­vars grow­ing across seven acres. In 2014 and 2015, they made 14 dis­tinct mill runs of olive oil from sev­eral promis­ing cul­ti­vars. They are eval­u­at­ing the abil­ity to pro­duce high-qual­ity oil only from cool-weather grown olives with­out sourc­ing fruit from warmer weather regions. The farm and its small cen­trifu­gal mill is not cur­rently a licensed pro­duc­tion facil­ity.

Oregon Olive Trees is located in USDA Hardiness Zone 8a. The first frost can hap­pen between October 11 — 20 in this loca­tion, with the last one between May 1 — 10. Summer tem­per­a­tures rarely reach above 86°F with an aver­age sum­mer high of 82°F.

David Lawrence describes his farm’s soil as, Jory, silty, clay loam of vary­ing thick­nesses.” Once the deci­sion to grow olives was made, he had his soil tested and even­tu­ally chose to add four tons of lime per acre.

Among the out­door, in-ground trees, they tend nurs­ery stock of vari­eties that have shown promise in the cool, rel­a­tively moist sum­mers typ­i­cal of the Pacific Northwest in cer­tain areas of west­ern Oregon, west­ern Washington State, and up into west­ern Canada and the Lawrences have sold their nurs­ery stock to loca­tions across the Pacific Northwest.


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