Bella Vista Ranch is a small, organic olive grove producing artisanal Tuscan EVOO and unique hand-infused flavored olive oils. Nestled in the foothills of the Diablo Mountains in Central California, the 10-acre grove was on the property of a beautiful, early California ranch home that Pat Stevens and Deborah Muscari purchased in 2014. The Santa Ana Valley, or “Organic Valley” as the locals call it, hosts a myriad of organic farms and organic, free-range cattle and poultry ranches. Pat, a 4th-generation farmer, is proud to say he was certified organic back in 1998, before organic food was mainstream. They felt right at home here, knowing their neighbors valued “slow food” as much as they did.
On this property was a sad, neglected olive grove overgrown with weeds and thistles. Having never been nurtured, the previous owners believed it was barren. The challenge was on!
They had faith in their olive trees and in their ability to farm. Carefully planned permaculture practices, including aggressive pruning, planting a yearly cover crop to add nutrients back into the soil, and installing drip irrigation really paid off. Each year theyB have doubled their harvest, and are proud to claim an exceptional tonnage per acre yield.
Hand-harvesting pasture-blended iconic Tuscan varietals – Frantoio, Leccino, Pendolino, Maurino, and Taggiasca, the olives are picked, then crushed within 24 hours locally, at one of the last stone mills in California using antique, granite stones brought over from Italy. The result is a medium-intensity oil certified Extra Virgin by the California Olive Oil Council (COOC) and certified Organic by the California Certified Organic Farmers (CCOF) and displaying the USDA seal.
The trees are happy! And now Pat and Deborah are able to share their blessings with others. It’s amazing what a little love and care did for the “Little Orchard That Could.”
The CCOC certification and company listings on their website have been a tremendous boost for our bulk oil business. Many prospective buyers were referred to our commercial website through their Meet Our Members directory. Because of their reputation as a trade association and consumer educator and advocate, buyers had confidence that our EVOO was a high-quality product. Sharing with potential buyers our chemical analysis and sensory profile gives them a sense of the flavor profile and intensity of our product.