Oregon’s Willamette Valley has been growing pinot noir and pinot gris grapes for the past four decades. But recently, visionaries like Ken and Penny Durant have embraced a new agricultural and culinary trend in Oregon – olives. The Durants planted a small olive orchard in 2005 and now have 13, 000 olive trees on 17 acres in the Willamette Valley. Two years ago they built the Oregon Olive Mill, Yamhill County’s first, and largest, olive oil pressing facility. To celebrate the 2010 olive harvest, the Oregon Olive Mill will host the 2nd annual Olio Nuovo Festa on the weekend of November 19-21. This three-day event honors the age-old Italian tradition that exists around the first pressing of artisan olive oil, celebrating the olive, the harvest and the pressing of the new olive oil. Olive varietals pressed at the Oregon Olive Mill include Arbequina from Spain and Koroneiki from Greece, as well as a Tuscan olive blend.
“Our olive oil festival is very similar to the way the French celebrate the young Beaujolais Nouveau wine,” says Paul Durant, co-founder of the Oregon Olive Mill. “In Italy, and now in Oregon, we are celebrating the new olive harvest fresh from the orchard. Fresh cold-pressed olive oil has long been recognized as the finest, best tasting olive oil available and eagerly sought after for its fruity, grassy flavors,” said Durant.
This is a busy time of year in the Willamette Valley with the Olive Festival and the beginning of the winter wine tasting season so you will want to book your room early at a bed and breakfast of the Oregon Bed and Breakfast Guild. With over 20 inns in the Willamette Valley you are sure to find one just right for you