After attending one of the first COOC ~ California Olive Oil Council meetings for olive growers and oil makers we purchased 4 Italian tree varieties to start our orchard. The blended oil from these trees, Frantoio, Leccino, Maurino and Pendolino make our traditional “Tuscan Blend” a wonderfully robust and peppery oil.
In short order we decided to add more trees and our nurseryman, an old hand at making oil, suggested Ascolano as a great “blending” oil with other Tuscan varieties.
We tasted unblended Ascolano oil and immediately fell in love. When asked why more folks didn’t plant Ascolano for oil he told us it is the second lowest producer of oil per ton of olives than any other olive. It is not generally profitable as a single varietal oil but is cost effective when blended.
Blinded by our love for its flavor we continue to plant Ascolano including 4 more acres this past March 2011.
Ascolano olives have a very long history in the California industry. Because of its huge individual size fruit and very good crop size its first use was for canning olives. Unfortunately it has one severe problem; the skin is delicate and bruises VERY easily making its appearance unsuitable for canning .
For oil producers it has a major drawback. Its oil content is extremely low.
Where a ton of most other types of olives will produce from 45 to 70 gallons of oil, for us Ascolano rarely produces over 30 gallons! Harvest and milling costs are the same for almost all varietals so the low oil yield is a major drawback when planting Ascolano for oil production.
It is the aroma and flavor that keeps us planting and loving Ascolano oil.
Floral aroma and a delicate but complex flavor sets it apart from all other oils. It has a distinctive fruity flavor, more so than most all other oils but has a very muted peppery finish to enhance its intriguing flavor.
We’re hooked and hope you try some.