OCTOBER MUSINGS FROM IL FIORELLO
As the events of the past two weeks, the Great Fires of California, have affected all of us, I want to take a minute to pause and thank many people for all their efforts. Staff who drove down the vineyard dirt paths to come to work. Staff, who even though they were evacuated from their homes, still managed to be online to try to keep the business working. When you come to our Visitors Center, please say hello to our staff and tell them thank you for their efforts. Kindness is powerful.
Thank you also to our neighbors, who posted pictures of our home so we knew it was safe, even though we were evacuated ourselves. A huge thank you of course to all the thousands of people who helped quench the fires, and kept thousands safe. I know it is their job, their passion, but let them hear us all say thank you.
As we enter the milling season this year, the olives are abundant. We hope to make great oil, and enjoy the company of so many wonderful growers. Some have lost their crop to fire, which is tragic, but the olive tree is hardy, and will regrow, and again be productive. Many people are calling in to schedule milling appointments, and we greet them with happiness that they are safe.
The mill is improved this year thanks to much work by our milling staff. We look forward to milling tons of olives for IL Fiorello, and many, many returning and quite a few welcome new clients. Soon, we will film a movie about how olive oil is made, focusing on the perspective of an olive from harvest to oil. Just think if you were an olive, what would happen to you to become international award winning oil. This will be fun for us, and help our visitors understand the milling process.
We are harvesting from our organic garden, and have gallons of tomato sauce and dried tomatoes to make sun-dried tomato pesto with new oil, Olio Nuovo. (The recipe is below) Because of the bounty of the garden, this great pesto will be our signature crostini for entire coming year. We also have been preserving tomatoes in olive oil. Just delicious.
The back area of our Visitors Center is expanding to accommodate more events. It will be the perfect place to sit, taste Olio Nuovo, and have a glass of wine with a charcuterie board. A lovely covered area open to the Olive Grove…you can sit in peace, and watch the olive trees grow. We look forward to many events this Fall season at IL Fiorello Farm, and hope you will be able to join us in the celebrations.
Ann and Mark
Sun Dried Tomato Pesto
2 cups sun dried tomatoes
⅓ Cup pine nuts
2 cloves garlic (optional) raw or roasted
1 cup grated Parmesan cheese
Salt and pepper to taste
1 cup of IL Fiorello’s Green Valley Organic Extra Virgin Olive Oil
- Blend all the ingredients except for parmesan together.
- Slowly drizzle in the olive oil until the pesto cannot absorb any more.
- Salt and Pepper to taste.
- Process until smooth or leave slightly chunky if you prefer.
- Stir in Parmesan.
How to Oven Dry Tomatoes
- Preheat oven to 225°F.
- Slice cherry and plum tomatoes (Roma, Juliette, or San Marzano are best) in half lengthwise. (For larger tomatoes cut into ¼ inch-thick slices.)
- Place cut-side up on a baking sheet with a wire cooling rack or lined with parchment paper.
- Dehydrate for 4-6 hours or to desired dryness.
- When finished drying, let cool before removing from pan.
- Dried tomatoes can be stored in the refrigerator, freezer, or packed in a jar with olive oil and seasonings.