As Canada’s only olive oil, it is such a pleasure to review The Olive Farm, olive oil and enjoy this juice! Only 45 liters was created this harvest and I’m crossing my fingers and toes that this year provides The Olive Farm a bumper crop. A beautiful field blend of the classic Tuscan trio – Frantoio, Leccino and Maurino, as well as some Pendolino and Alegra. George and Sheri Braun are passionate about growing olives and doing it here in Canada. No small feat. Olives like hot and dry. Canada’s west coast is cool and wet. The barriers abound, yet despite these odds, this oil is a delight, and I commend their tenacity, passion and love of olive.
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The oil really is a true example of Salt Spring Island, bright and vibrant, it’s incredibly green in both colour and flavour. Artichoke and green almond are very present with hints of apple. An almost tart tannic and salty note sits on your palate and turns into a beautiful lingering black and white pepper finish. It’s a stunning example of what the island tastes like, the terroir poured into a bottle. You can taste the hard work, dedication and all the love that goes into every drop of oil.
The majority of the trees on the farm are approaching 10 years old, so now will producing consistently. It takes a long time for olives trees to establish themselves and produce plentifully. It’s a common saying, if a family purchases land to farm in the Mediterranean, they plant crops for living off now, plant the vineyard for the children, and the olive grove for the grandchildren. Olive trees are known to consistently produce for many hundreds of years yet take generations, to properly establish themselves.
The west coast climate is no exception. Our cool wet winters and long springs, the trees blossom late June and it’s often well into November when the olives are mature and ready for picking. As George reinforced to me, there is little ripening happening in October and November on the farm, as the cool rains typically start in early October. This reality of the cool fall allows the oil to feel and taste like an early harvest, yet also a fully matured olive oil. It’s fascinating and incredibly unique, and an honour to enjoy.