A Tasty Visit to a Central California Olive Orchard

Magical Moments at Alta Cresta Olive Orchard

Most Southern Californians know that Paso Robles is a great wine-tasting destination, but many are not aware that olive orchards producing award-winning oils are located in this region as well.

Alta Cresta Olive Orchard

Candice and Eric Kaltenbach, the proprietors of Alta Cresta Olive Orchard, grow premium quality olive oil from the 750 Italian varietal trees on their property in Paso. An oil-tasting visit is not only a flavorful experience, it is a comprehensive lesson in how olives are grown and maintained as well as how their exceptional oils are produced.

From the get-go, the Kaltenbach’s describe the contrasts between types of olive oils and how they are differentiated. The fact that the most elite of the bunch are the high phenolic certified extra virgin olive oils is an important detail. The polyphenols contained in these oils have antioxidant properties and while not certified as medicinal, have been found to help improve conditions ranging from inflammation to decreases in insulin and blood glucose levels. Phenol compounds inhibit cancer growth and limit the risk of stroke and heart attack. The phenol levels vary based upon the freshness of the oil and how ripe the olives are at harvest.

Paso Robles Olive Oil Production

Candice and Eric Kaltenbach, the proprietors of Alta Cresta Olive Orchard, grow premium quality olive oil from the 750 Italian varietal trees on their property in Paso. An oil-tasting visit is not only a flavorful experience, it is a comprehensive lesson in how olives are grown and maintained as well as how their exceptional oils are produced. 

From the get-go, the Kaltenbach’s describe the contrasts between types of olive oils and how they are differentiated. The fact that the most elite of the bunch are the high phenolic certified extra virgin olive oils is an important detail. The polyphenols contained in these oils have antioxidant properties and while not certified as medicinal, have been found to help improve conditions ranging from inflammation to decreases in insulin and blood glucose levels. Phenol compounds inhibit cancer growth and limit the risk of stroke and heart attack. The phenol levels vary based upon the freshness of the oil and how ripe the olives are at harvest. 

Olive oil is produced by pressing the olive utilizing high temperatures, following the first cold press. While basic olive oil also contains the mono-unsaturated fat benefit, most of its other health benefits deteriorate quickly. 

Certified extra virgin olive oil (EVOO) is tested in a lab to verify that the olive oil meets or exceeds extra virgin grade standards. It is minimally processed compared to other cooking oils such as canola, corn, soybean and vegetable oils. 

California has the most stringent certification standards as compared to the USDA or other international standards. So, if the olive oil passes the initial lab test, it’s then taste-tested by an expert panel to ensure its flavor is pleasant to the palate. Once the batch gets the thumbs up, the California Olive Oil Council, one of the most rigorous certifying agencies in the United States, can authorize the COOC Seal, endorsing the brand as having met COOC standards. 

EVOO also contains ingredients called phenols. Total phenol levels in extra virgin olive oil can range from 50 to 1,500 mg/kg, although those above 200 mg/kg are the health-promoting varieties. The greater the concentration of phenols in EVOO, the longer the shelf life of the oil. Phenols can deteriorate rapidly, which is why EVOO stored in a dark green glass bottle or a tin container are the most protective since direct sunlight can make the oil lose its extra virgin qualities within days. 

All of the Kaltenbach’s 2019 Alta Cresta oils were certified extra virgin by the California Olive Oil Council and their 2019 Coratina received a Gold Medal from the Los Angeles International Olive Oil Competition. They also received Silver Medals for their 2019 Tuscan Blend and the 2019 Italian Blend. 

Olive Cottage

Because of their vast knowledge of olive oils and their production, the Kaltenbach’s are happy to answer questions and offer tours around their orchard. But for a truly comprehensive experience, a stay at the property’s Olive Cottage is highly recommended. 

The 773 square-foot cottage, located right on the property, is a one-bedroom, one-bath with a large walk-in shower, high-end bath products and lush 100% Egyptian cotton towels. The luxuriously appointed accommodations include a living room, dining area, flat screen TV, DVD player and stereo. There is a full-size kitchen equipped with a dishwasher, microwave, refrigerator, stove and coffee maker. Pantry items, baked goods, premium coffee and a variety of teas are also provided. The private yard features a BBQ and sitting area, a perfect spot to catch the striking Paso Robles sunset. 

The next time you head to the Central Coast, be sure to call and reserve a visit to Alta Cresta. You’ll be greeted by the Kaltenbach’s warm hospitality and valuable information about olive oils and their unique health-enhancing properties. 

 

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Check out more on Paso Robles:

Horsetail Ranch in Paso Robles

Escape to MarFarm

 

Magical Moments at Alta Cresta Olive Orchard

by Monique Reidy

 

Alta Cresta Olive Oil, Inc.

949-226-9376 

805-227-4751

www.AltaCresta.com

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3625 East Thousand Oaks Blvd., Suite 230
Westlake Village, CA, 91362

805.777.0080  

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