Seeders: Paul Durant & Family, Oregon Olive Mill at Red Ridge Farms
The Farm: 13,000 olive trees planted on 17 of the family’s 120 acres and a state-of-the-art Italian mill – Durant Vineyards Tasting Room, a gourmet retail shop, Red Ridge Farms nursery on site
Established: Oregon Olive Mill – 2008
What They Seed: 13,000 olive trees of the following varieties: Arbequina, Leccino, Mission, Pendolino, Koroneiki, Picual, and several others. Estate fruit is supplemented with olives sourced from prime groves in Northern California, which allows for blending to create more distinctive flavor profiles and mitigates cool climate risk.
Where You Can Find Them:
On The Farm: The Red Ridge Farms retail shop
Online: Red Ridge Farms online store
Retail: Pastaworks, Salt & Straw, Market of Choice, Sheridan Fruit Company, Portland Fish Market, Made in Oregon
The Durants are fifth generation Oregon farmers, established in the Willamette Valley nearly a century ago. The current farm, Red Ridge, was started by Ken and Penny Durant in the early 1970s. They grew filberts and prunes and planted one of the first vineyards in the valley in 1973. They first planted olive trees in 2005 as an experiment to see how they would do in Oregon. There are now over 13,000 trees planted on 17 of the family’s 120 acres.
The Oregon Olive Mill was founded in the fall of 2008 and is still the only estate olioteca in the Pacific Northwest. In addition to milling their own estate olives, they supplement production with olives from Northern California farms. They also provide milling services to other olive growers in the area.
Paul Durant, son of Ken and Penny, left his career as a mechanical engineer in 2010 to return to the farm. He is now a certified master miller and oversees the entire Oregon Olive Mill operation. The facility includes the mill and production area, a bottling line and an oil storage area.
The Durant Family now has seven seasons of harvest and milling under their belts and continue to pioneer and learn more about cultivating olives in the Pacific Northwest.
On pioneering an olive mill in the Pacific Northwest: “We’re always amazed with how little we know what we’re doing” – Libby Clow, Olive Program Embassador
“Grow grapes for your children and olives for your grandchildren” – an old Italian saying