High Performance Arbequina EVOO

March 29, 2018

Arbequina through the seasons


Here is some background information and an update about our
Arbequina EVOO.


Grasslands, originally for cattle in early California, gave way

to rice fields in the middle of the last century.  In 2009 we

acquired some of those rice fields and converted them into a

sustainably farmed olive orchard.  The oak savannah habitat

that runs across and around our land is filled with deer and

foxes, great horned owls and rabbits. All manner of creatures

live among the trees and near the mighty Sacramento River.


Three Types of Orchards


As you probably know, we have three different types of orchards

at Lucero Olive Oil -- Old World style "traditional" spacing for the

trees which are over 100 years old, New World "medium" spacing,

which makes better use of the land, however still requires hand

harvesting, and some "high density" spacing for certain varieties

which have been adapted to grow and be pruned into hedgerows.

Our arbequina is one such high density planting.


Standing under an old Valley Oak Tree facing  toward the Arbequina.


Extremely hot weather during summer and early fall 2017 caused

olive trees in our area to slow their production of oil which

subsequently delayed harvest until later that it is typical. The result

was lower than average yields however more intense flavor than in

prior years. No where is this impact as pronounced as in this

Arbequina orchard.


Unique Conditions :

Outstanding Arbequina


We tpically allocate our entire Arbequina crop for use as a

blending or flavoring oil. However,  this year's oil is so distinctive

that we want to  share it with you as a single variety. We selected

the top 3% most tasty and green lots from this year's harvest for

bottling. When you taste it,  you'll see that  not all California

Arbequina olive oils are the same!


As we bottled an early harvest oil from the first day of the

Arbequina harvest, we found it had a complex ripe floral and

green aroma, with the classic ripe, nutty, and buttery flavors

In addition there was a green herbaceous accent and some

artichoke and green apple flavors.


Unexpected Results Produce

a Stunning Arbequina


We also noticed pronounced bitterness and pungency along with

a significantly higher than average total polyphenol level

for  this variety which was due to this year's growing conditions

The result is  adelicious and "high performance" Arbequina which

we're proud to  present.


The degree of polyphenols was quite unexpected because

historically, California Arbequina olive oils test between 160

and 190 mg/kg in total polyphenols.  In 2016 our lab reported

242 mg/kg. Suprisingly, this crop is a stunning 329 mg/kg total

polyphenols!  This level of nutrition is what contributes to the

more intense and complex green flavors present in this crop.


As with all Lucero EVOOs, this oil is verified extra virgin by the

California Department of Food and Agriculture and the Extra Virgin

Alliance; it is certified kosher and parve by Kof-K, and earlier this

week we were advised that our entry earned a Gold Medal  at the

California State Fair.


You can order a bottle of this year's via this link, Arbequina and

here are a few  more photos of the orchard and harvest.

Please enjoy!




High density arbequina is pruned at the optimal height for our harvester, between 7' and 8'.





The harvest process takes one driver for the big yellow machine, and one fellow in the next row to catch the fruit.


We prefer to harvest our arbequina on the greener side, or just changing colors.




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