Ron Chapman, whose Mission Olive Preservation, Restoration and Education group was established in 1998 to preserve historical knowledge about California missions’ heritage olive trees, is credited with saving and grafting many of Sonoma’s first olive trees. He also makes a mean Provencal olive tapenade. Chapman generously provided us with this recipe:

Ron Chapman’s Provençal Olive Tapenade


1/3 lb. brined green Mission olives

1/3 lb. ripe black olives

3 Tbs. capers

1 shallot, finely diced

1 or 2 anchovy filets

1 Tbs. lemon juice

2 Tbs. extra virgin Mission (or other) olive oil

1 Tbs. fresh chopped thyme

Pepper to taste


In a food processor combine the olive, capers, shallot, anchovies, lemon juice, olive oil, thyme and pepper. Pulse until desired consistency is achieved.

Note: to pit olives, cover a cutting board with a kitchen towel and spread as many olives in a single layer as fit on the towel. Cover with a second towel. Use a heavy skillet to bash the olives one or twice. The pits and flesh should separate easily.