Sunday, February 19, 2017

Last Days of Company

We had been going almost non-stop with our company so Monday, before John and Kendal left, we just sat around and talked.  Family time is so important and we had a good time together.  Mid-afternoon we saw them to the security checkpoint at Phoenix-Gateway Airport for their (fairly) short flight to Colorado Springs.

Cindy was leaving late Tuesday afternoon so we explored one more location she had not seen, the Queen Creek Olive Mill. We had been there but never took a tour. This time we learned a lot from the Olive Oil 101 presentation.

This old olive mill from Italy decorates the grounds.

Our tour guide was friendly, funny and full of all sorts of good information.  We started out in the olive grove.  They have 7,000 olive trees on 25 acres of land.  We learned that if 4% of the spring olive tree blossoms become olives a grove is commercially viable.

Queen Creek has 16 varieties of olive trees.  Olives have no natural threats in Arizona so they have no need for pesticides.  From the grove, we were off to the mill.  We learned a lot about how they make the oil and what makes it high quality.

These vats are where the oil is processed.  They bottle their oil every 3 weeks so what you purchase in their stores is always fresh.

We heard about the health benefits of extra virgin olive oil and about the other kinds of olive oil.

After the tour, we had lunch in their café.  They grow their own produce for many of the dishes they offer.

They also have fresh bread.  Did you know you can substitute olive oil for other fats in breads and cakes?  I didn't.  I had delicious red velvet cake made with chocolate olive oil.

They sell oils and vinegars, as well as breads.  There are tasting stations throughout the store.  A chocolate olive oil and balsamic vinegar mixture was my favorite.

After lunch we were off to Sky Harbor Airport where Cindy caught her plane to Denver. We had a great week with family, but we also needed a day or two of rest after they left.

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