Sunday morning we woke up to a very cold RV and a bit of snow on the ground. We spent the night in a Wal*Mart parking lot in Yreka, CA without hookups and discovered that our batteries are not in as good shape as they could be. The power was out – which means no heat. We quickly decided that we needed to continue heading south.
We stopped at a state information area and I noticed a flyer for the Olive Pit in Corning CA. We had also heard about this place from some RVing friends. All kinds of olives, plain, stuffed and oils – it sounded like a place we had to visit.
Last night we went to the Olive Pit after getting the RV set up. The Olive Pit had to be an olive lover’s dream come true. They have an olive tasting bar that must contain over 40 of their almost 100 varieties. Everything from standard pitted green to the blue cheese and jalapeno stuffed. I tried a number (ok a large number) of olives and some of my favorites included the spicy blue cheese stuffed, the kosher dill, the Cajun, and the hickory smoked. In addition to the olives they have a good section of olive oils.
Today we continued our exploration of Olive City. We drove around and saw fields full of olive trees (and have to say the Farmville olive trees do look a lot like real olive trees). Olive trees can start producing olives when they are just three years old and the oldest true in this area is 100 years (there is a 3,000 year old tree in Spain).
Corning is the home of the Bell Carter Olive Company which is the largest producer of table olives in the country and second largest in the world. We drove by the plant and stopped in but unlike many of the smaller companies they did not have a tasting or store area. Although they would sell flats of canned olives (nope don’t need 12 cans of plain olives).
We went by the Corning Olive Oil Company and walked past bins full of olives to get to the tasting room and store. Their garlic olive oil was excellent and a bottle has been added to the RV’s inventory. As we were walking out of the site I took a small raw olive from one of the bins. I wondered what olive tasted like before it was brined – well they are not at all good – must be the most bitter disgusting thing I have eaten in some time.
Our next stop on our olive tour was the Lucero Olive Oil Company. They were running the mill today so we could not go thru the whole factory – but we did get taken to the viewing area and had the whole process explained to us. Each of the bins (like in the photo above) holds about 1200 pounds of olive – and it takes about 16 pounds of olives to make a 500 ml bottle of oil. They have some excellent olive oils and one which we did not find anywhere else – chocolate. Yes chocolate. I did not really know what to expect – but it was excellent. They said it is nice over ice cream or in baked goods (we will let you know). In addition to the olive oil they also sell a nice little selection of specialty mustard (a jar of tequila jalapeno was purchased), balsamic vinegar (red apple was excellent), and tapenades (I can recommend the artichoke lemon)
After spending 24 hours in Corning – I do believe that it has earned the right to be known as the Olive City.