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Olive harvest starts in Sonoma Valley

With the grapes tucked away to ferment for the year, Valley agricultural producers are focusing on Sonoma’s second most popular crop: olives. While this season’s limited rainfall has meant smaller fruit, when pressed, the oil produced is packed with flavor.

“It’s a lighter harvest this year but the density is definitely there,” said Dan Cohn, a principal at B.R. Cohn Winery and Olive Oil Company, which produces an array of estate-grown and award winning olive oils in Glen Ellen. “The oil coming out looks unbelievable, just phenomenal this year.”

Cohn said the lack of rain meant the olives didn’t plump up as much as usual, but the smaller fruit, when pressed into oils, brings a richer flavor profile. This only enhances B.R. Cohn’s award-winning line of flavored olive oils, such as its Meyer lemon olive oil that earned double gold medals in the 2012 and 2013 Sonoma County Harvest Fair. Cohn said by pressing the flavors with the olives, the oils come out with a more concentrated profile.

“We actually press the garlic and the basil with the olives,” he explained. “The Meyer lemons go right in with the olives. The blood oranges go right in with the olives. It creates that intense, fresh flavor.”

Cohn said the olive oils pressed this week will be available before Christmas, but first must spend a month in the tank before bottling. Each batch includes both a harvest date and a bottling date, and are only available at B.R. Cohn’s Glen Ellen tasting room or online at brcohn.com.


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