The Official Olive Update from Paso Robles!


by Tina Swithin

According to Ron Sanders at Alta Cresta Olive Orchard, it was another fabulous year for olives in the Paso Robles area. While the extreme heat in August did affect the size of some olives, the final olives at harvest were of outstanding quality. Anyone looking for great, fresh extra virgin olive oil should look no further than the oils made right here in Paso Robles. Paso Robles has secured a place on the olive map and it becoming known for artisanal olive oils that are a welcomed addition to kitchens around the world.

About Alta Cresta Olive Orchard: Alta Cresta is an artisanal producer of premium extra virgin olive oil. Owners Ron Sanders and wife, Susan O'Reilly personally maintain every aspect of the orchard from weed control to pruning. Every year, help is needed to hand-pick the olives at harvest and the milling of the olives is then performed at one of our local mills. The delectible, fresh oil is returned to Alta Cresta for storage in a controlled environment storage room.


Alta Cresta grows four different Italian varieties of olives including three Tuscan varieties: Leccino, Pendolino and Frantoio. Chosen for their assertive flavors, the Tuscan varieties are picked early in the season to assure a robust and zesty olive oil. The fourth is the Coratina variety typically grown in the Puglia area of Italy. The Coratina olives reach a riper stage at harvest than the Tuscan varieties and produce a distinctively different and somewhat milder flavor. To bridge the flavor gap they also produce an Italian Blend combining both the Tuscan and Coratina.


* Tuscan Blend for those wanting a full, rich olive flavor to standout. Use it with your favorite pasta dishes, roasted vegetables and meat.

* The Italian Blend still retains the robust character of the Tuscan varieties, but is a bit milder. Great for salads.

* Coratina has a buttery texture and medium flavor intensity. Dip your shrimp in Coratina or drizzle it on corn-on-the-cob instead of butter.

Ron is a huge fan of the BBQ grill an was kind enough to share one of his favorite recipes with us: shrimp kabobs, corn-on-the-cob and a fresh green salad. Ron is my kind of guy!


Shopping LIst:

1 lb. peeled and deveined shrimp (enough for 6 kabobs)
1 red bell pepper
1 yellow bell pepper
1 green bell pepper
1 large onion
Cherry tomatoes
1 ear corn per person
Fresh mixed salad greens
Alta Cresta Coratina EVOO
Alta Cresta Italian Blend EVOO
Chaparral Gardens Champagne Mimosa Vinegar

Preparation and Cooking:
*Shrimp Kabobs: Cut peppers and onions into chunks and alternately place shrimp, peppers, onion, tomatoes and mushrooms on skewers. (You can substitute other veggies to suit your taste.) Salt to taste. Coat each with Coratina EVOO. Sprinkle with fresh ground black pepper.

*Corn-On-The-Cob: Remove shucks and silk from corn. Place each on a sheet of aluminum foil (large enough to wrap the corn). Salt lightly and coat with Coratina EVOO. Wrap each corn ear tightly.

*Salad Dressing: Blend three parts Italian Blend EVOO with 1 part Champagne Mimosa Vinegar. Shake well. Toss with mixed greens and sliced mushrooms.

*Cooking: Pre-heat grill. First place wrapped corn on the grill. Cooking time is 12 to 15 minutes. About 3 or 4 minutes after the corn place the kabobs on the grill. After 5 minutes turn the kabobs. Cook an additional 5 minutes. (Cooking time may vary a little based on the grilling temperature.) Remove kabobs and corn and serve immediately.

PS, Don't forget to have more Coratina EVOO for dipping the shrimp and drizzling over the corn! Yum!!!

Alta Cresta Olive Orchard: Susan and Ron personally maintain the orchard and oversee harvesting and oil production. They store, bottle and label the oil onsite. Alta Cresta Olive Orchard is a truly personal operation that allows complete control of the extra virgin olive oil from growing of the olives to sale to the consumer. The result is premium award winning extra virgin olive oils on which you can depend.

Visit the Alta Cresta Olive Orchard Tasting Room every Saturday and Sunday from 11:00 am to 4:00 pm or by appointment. Susan and Ron will show you around the orchard and discuss the making of premium EVOO.