It’s not hard to find exceptional olive oil in Western Sonoma County. Many of the wineries that dot our rolling hills also grow and harvest olives. The resulting oil and the flavor of each represents the unique soil, topography, and climate of the Russian River Valley or what is often referred to as the terroir.
Sixteen years ago, colleagues and friends of the Market, Rob Akins and Mark Berry bought an old apple farm with failing trees in Forestville. On a visit to Southern France and Italy the couple began tasting olive oil and fell in love with the idea of refurbishing the orchard and planting olive trees on the property. One year into the purchase of the property, Mark and Rob planted their first trees and have been planting more every few years. Their passion has grown into a thriving olive oil business — Olive Queen.
“Tasting our way along the Mediterranean, we grew to appreciate the connection between olive oil and a way of life — rich in friends, food, and shared memories. From the harvest to the table, olive oil is an essential ingredient in daily life,” says Rob.
Olive Queen celebrates the “Queen of Fruit” and honors the foundation for the estate-grown Spanish Blend of Arbequina and Arbosana olives. Much like local winemakers in the area that farm grapes and source from other wineries, Olive Queen produces estate blends on the property and sources fruit from olive growers in Sonoma County to make non-estate olive blends.
Rob and Mark’s oils were recently awarded two silver medals from the California Olive Oil Council and the award winning oils were served at a dinner for the Prince of Denmark. You can buy Olive Queen oils at Big Bottom Market and Equality Vines in Guerneville and the oil is also on the menu at Hazel in Occidental. A total of six Extra Virgin olive oil blends, including the bold Etruscan Blend and medium Italian Blend are also available online at OliveQueen.com.
Olive and Honey Avocado Toast
Who does’t love avocado toast. It’s simply delicious and so easy to prepare.
4 slices of toasted crusty Italian bread
1 ripe avocado
2 tablespoons Olive Queen Olive oil (we like the Estate Reserve Queen’s Blend)
2 tablespoons of honey
Lemon for zesting
Freshly ground black pepper
Cut the avocado in half and remove the pit. Scoop out the flesh and smear about 1/4 of the avocado on each of the pieces of toast. Drizzle with olive oil and honey. Finish off with some lemon zest, a sprinkle of salt and freshly ground black pepper.