ABOUT

High in the remote hills of a vast Sonoma County ranch, our certified organic orchard produces the five classic Tuscan olive cultivars from which the world’s finest oils have been blended for ages: Leccino, Maurino, Frantoio, Moraiolo, and Pendolino.

Grown on select trees brought from an estate near Florence, our olives are nurtured by the purest elements, gently harvested by hand to prevent bruising and minimize acidity, and expertly milled at our own facility within only a few hours of picking.

We believe the oils of these five noble fruits, along with a little California magic, have summoned together ancient demigods and spirits of this land to revel in a 21st Century feast.

THE LAND

Overlooking a magnificent system of peaks and valleys that stretches into the horizon without end, the Feast of Five orchard literally sits on top of the world. It is a 30-acre low-impact farming compound with a unique microclimate and miles of natural land serving as a buffer against pollution and pests. Clean nearby springs and rich, unspoiled earth feed over two thousand Tuscan olive trees nestled between live oaks and redwood groves. 

CERTIFIED ORGANIC

The orchard has been certified organic for over a decade now; we integrate pest management through cattle grazing and wildlife protection, and we house owls to help keep rodents in check. 

POLLINATION

Some olive cultivars are self-fertile while others are self-sterile, and others are particularly strong pollinators. About 80% of olive pollination occurs through wind. The rest is done by insects, birds, and sometimes rain. Keeping bees near the orchard can somewhat boost pollination.

TREE LAYOUT

Olive trees tend to bear fruit every other year. Some orchards are planted over two years to blend alternating rows for consistent yields. This olive orchard was planted in several phases starting with the central area between the main road and the large pond. This was followed by additions below the large pond. Finally, the upper orchard was added. 

Following the non-industrial, continental tradition, these trees were planted 18 equilateral feet apart to maximize sun exposure, soil volume, and to prevent the spread of diseases. While this reduces the number of possible trees per acre, it supports higher fruit quality and yield per tree.

Making up about 10% of the trees, the pollinator Pendolino is spread throughout all areas. One mixed block near the big pond increases pollination by interspersing multiple cultivars in one area.

PONDS

The three man-made ponds in the orchard area have added important water sources and habitats for flora and fauna, including wild Canadian geese, ducks, and owls. The Mud Pit serves as a important resource for wildlife outside the orchard.

WATER

Three tanks totalling 13,750 gallons are fed from two springs with potable water for personal use and for irrigation. The overflow feeds into the ponds.

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HARVEST SEQUENCE

The harvest usually proceeds from the bottom up, with the lowest Moraiolo block picked in late September or early October. This ensures a stock of strong, green oil to blend with the fruitier, more delicate oil that may need more backbone. The last harvest takes place in December in the topmost Frantoio block on Orchard Hill. 

The five olive tree cultivars and their map icons.

The five olive tree cultivars and their map icons.

WILDLIFE

A fence prevents cows, deer, boar, and most other larger animals from entering the orchard and harming crops. Bobcats, redtail hawks, vultures, owls and various snakes prey on the many mice, voles, moles, and other indigenous rodents populating the orchard. Jackrabbits are frequently spotted in the orchard rows.

AIR

Over 1 mile away from the nearest public road, the orchard is shielded from pollution and noise. It sits at an elevation ranging from 1700 to 2000 feet and enjoys a regular supply of fresh winds from the West. This reduces pest hazard and increases pollination.

A GUIDE THROUGH THE ORCHARD AND ITS OLIVE CULTIVARS

Learn more about the olive trees types and our farming practices  from the Feast Of Five Orchard Map with artwork by J Maizlish Mole.

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