Gold Ridge Organic Farms earned three Gold Awards and a Silver Award at the 2021 NYIOOC. The owner said organic production was the key to their success.
Gold Ridge Organic Farms is among the California producers leading the way in sustainable and organic olive oil production methods, despite the dominance of imports in the North American market.
At the 2021 NYIOOC World Olive Oil Competition, the Northern California producer earned three Gold Awards and a Silver Award for all four of its entries.I was inspired by a great love affair with the grace and elegance of the olive tree. I believe it is the most beautiful of all crops to grow.- Brooke Hazen, owner, Gold Ridge Organic Farms
“It felt truly amazing [to receive these awards],” owner Brooke Hazen told Olive Oil Times. “We are so honored and grateful to receive such special appreciation for all of the hard work, time, dedication and determination that went into producing such exceptional olive oils.”
“Our harvest was excellent last year,” he added. “I was able to obtain 4,500 gallons for my four signature blends from my groves in Sebastopol.”
For Hazen, these awards further validate the authenticity of his brand and the hard work it takes to achieve a quality standard that is not easy to imitate.
Gold Ridge Organic Farms is located in northern California’s West Sonoma County. Sitting approximately 80 kilometers north of San Francisco, the city of Sebastopol is a near-perfect region for olive cultivation due to the optimal soil and ideal climate.
“Our farm sits 10 miles (16 kilometers) inland from the beautiful Sonoma Coast and the Pacific Ocean,” Hazen said. “The proximity to the ocean influences our climate and our soils and makes our oils unique and lively. Our growing season is long and cool, which contributes to the high polyphenol levels in our oils.”
Growing olives organically is a crucial component of Hazen’s vision. He believes that organic cultivation yields olives that are both healthier and more flavorful. He added that his organic farming practices help create olive oils rich in flavor, taste and antioxidants.
“I was inspired by a great love affair with the grace and elegance of the olive tree. I believe it is the most beautiful of all crops to grow,” Hazen said. “It started with planting and growing olive trees and naturally expanded into pressing the olives into olive oil.”
“Olives are planted once in their lifetime,” he added. “They are known as the ‘Grandparent Tree’ because they live for many generations… The trees can live for millennia.”
In the cool coastal environment of Sebastopol, Hazen usually begins harvesting his olives in mid-November and continues until Christmas.
However, even before the harvest begins, Hazen spends plenty of time among his trees. Ensuring they receive plenty of water, nutrients and pruning improves the quality of the fruit.
After harvesting, the olives are processed at an organic mill, which was built in 2001. Hazen installed an Italian Rapanelli press, which processes the olives within a few hours after harvesting.
Hazen and his team then craft their four carefully selected blends of Italian, French and Spanish varietals, of which the producers take great pride.
“Our four olive oil blends are also unique,” he said. Gold Ridge Organic Farms earned two Gold Awards for olive oils blended from Italian varieties.
The Tuscan Blend is crafted from mostly Frantoio and Leccino olives, with a small amount of Maurino and Pendolino cultivars as well. Meanwhile, the Minerva Blend is made from Minerva, Frantoio and Maurino olives with a touch of Cerasoula and Ladoelia.
Hazen and his team also earned a Gold Award for a medium Piccholine blend, which contains Aglandau, Bouteillian, Solonenque, Grossane and Cayon olives. The producers won a Silver Award for a medium Arbequina blend, comprising Empeltre, Leccin de Seville, Hojiblanca, Picual and Manzanilla olives.
Certification is an important part of this process, and all of the company’s olive oils are certified organic by California Certified Organic Farmers and extra virgin by the California Olive Oil Council.
Hazen said his products stand apart from competitors as a result of a methodical production process, uniquely crafted blends and quality certifications.
Despite all the work that Hazen and his team put into each harvest, the producer sees the California olive oil sector as being prone to market trends and consumer behavior like any other industry.
According to Hazen, the availability of cheap and low-quality imported olive oils is the biggest challenge faced by the industry.
“Cheap imported oils have flooded the market, driven down prices and confused the consumers,” he said. “Most consumers have no idea what healthy fresh olive oil actually should taste and look like.”
“The Californian olive oil industry has been making attempts to change this through legal channels and lobbying,” he added.
However, Hazen said his awards from the NYIOOC World Olive Oil Competition go a long way in demonstrating to consumers what differentiates high-quality extra virgin olive oil from the rest of the pack.
“Our team is grateful for the recognition of quality,” Hazen concluded. “Farming is a difficult journey with many long days invested into raising the fruit. So, the acknowledgment feels good.”
I saw this olive oil on La Briffe recommended by Ruth Reichl. I love olive oil. My grandmother was from Croatia and she cooked with olive oil as did my mother way before it was chic to do. I am a native Californian and I live in Georgia. I miss California and I love La Briffe and Ruth's recommendations for things like your olive oil. It keeps me in touch with all things California.Pam H., Decatur, GA
I haven’t encountered many American olive oils that knocked me out, but this one from Gold Ridge Organic Farms in Sebastapol is exceptionally good.Ruth Reichl, James Beard Award Winner, Food Writer & Chef
We really appreciated the informative and tasty presentations as well as farmer Brooke’s informative tour of the orchard. A+ Everyone was super nice.Blane H., Cloverdale, CA
Always happy with your olive oil! Someday we hope to visit the farm. It looks beautiful!Ryan J., Portland, OR
I learned so much about apples! Thanks. I thought the oil tasting was so well organized and I enjoyed the experience very much. I’ll be spending more on olive oil Now. Thanks!Sara S., Sebastopol, CA
Love your organic olive oils - they are amazing! Whenever we are in the area will visit.Scott B., San Diego, CA
I love the Meyer Lemon Olive Oil! A friend brought a bottle for me to try and I am in love. I am a personal chef and I plan to make this a regular finishing oil. I am taking it with me back east to share with friends!Heidi L., Sebastopol, CA
I love our olive oil! Thank you.Lisa M., Port Washington, NY
Love your olive oil, thanks!Ryan J., Portland, OR
The Arbequina Blend olive oil is simply wonderful, and the shipping was very fast! Thank you!Barb G., Post Falls, ID
I like the VOLO Chocolate with Meyer Lemon. Kind of satiny, not too sweet. That’s good in my book! I like the olive oil in that one too. Kind of creamy and nourishing.Ginny A., Plainfield, MA
I saw the farm store sign from the road and came in to explore. I'm so glad I did. I tasted, and chose some gorgeous oils and vinegars too & chocolate! Some really special gifts available. Great packaging & nice hospitality. Thank you. I'll be back.Penny L., Sonoma County, CA
Your facility is beautiful! Your olive oil is fantastic, and the specialty chocolate with olive oil is super delicious (wish they made at least 80% chocolate to cut down on the sugar). As an aside, I absolutely loved the front gates!Bonnie K., San Francisco Bay Area, CA
My feedback on Meyer Lemon Blend Olive Oil: I love it and think you’re doing great work…a credit to the community!Barbara C., Santa Rosa, CA
AMAZING true olive oil! The taste and texture is divine, but for us this oil has been a blessing beyond the gourmet, our autistic son has had tremendous leaps forward in healing and development, this oil is truly brain food pure and healing. Thank you for what you do!Laina S., Naples, FL
[The tour and tasting were] very interesting and informative. Thank you.Kristen T., Sonoma County, CA
I learned so much! Loved the samples - very generous! I am sharing my purchases with my friends, too. I made pancakes to try the apple syrup and that was a hit! Thanks to the polite and knowledgeable staff. We had a great time! We bought a few items, for us and as gifts. You have an impressive operation that we will continue to support! Thank you for your customer care, attention to detail, and knowledge. Excellence shows!Gerard G., Napa, CA
The best, unparalleled olive oil I’ve ever had! Apple cider syrup is also second to none! What is the most impressive to me is that all of the ingredients are freshly grown, organically made! Simply the best!Jeongbum S., San Francisco Bay Area , CA
The taste and texture is divine, but for us this oil has been a blessing beyond the gourmet, our autistic son has had tremendous leaps forward in healing and development, this oil is truly brain food pure and healing. Thank you for what you do!Laina S., Naples, FL
A friend gifted me the assorted tins for Christmas and I am very impressed. Delicious oil. As I cannot do dairy and do not like margerines I found scrambling my egg in this olive oil was sublime. You don't want to waste it on dishes where you cannot get the full impact of its delicious flavor. I am hooked.Jean M., Grants Pass, OR
I will NEVER go back to store bought oils! The difference in taste between fresh and store bought was extraordinary.Sheryl P., Cheboygan, MI
My entire experience was wonderful. The order arrived in a very timely manner, and the product is excellent!Barb G., Bonners Ferry, ID
We love the Honeycrisp-Fuji Apple Cider syrup! Thank you!Sarah H., Culver City, CA
Great products, excellent service!Karen K., Los Angeles, CA
Recipients of the EVOO were delighted. Nice to get positive feedback from foodies.Yvonne , Sebastopol, CA
Very good people and service.Mateo S.
Always a pleasure working with Gold Ridge Organic Farms for custom milling. Very professional, helpful and friendly.Bill M.
Delicious products and a beautiful view.Steven M.
So far have been splashing Minerva on our pasta. No more boring pasta dinners! The details were also good - packing material, gold tab on bottle for opening, info for using each oil, drop down tab to cover spout opening, etc… Every detail well planned.Patti L., Bellevue, WA
Thank you providing this service to our community. I was so happy to be able to have my olives individually milled this year. In the past I have always participated in a community press. So this is the first time I have been able to taste my very own olive oil! Thanks for making that possible!Mary Lee M.
We've only opened up one bottle so far but we are pleased. I'm a bit of an olive oil snob. Your oil has flavor and smells like fresh grass. I put it on my air popped popcorn with salt. It's delicious! So glad I found you! Can't wait to try the other oils and get the new harvest oils in the future!Debbie V., Boulder, CO
Everything is so great! Love the tins as much as the bottles and enjoying both right now. Love giving these oils as gifts too!Laurie S., Sonoma, CA
The olive oils are excellent. My favourites are Tuscan and Arbequina and the fact that they are organic makes them even better. Also the packaging is exceptional.Joanne H., Red Bluff, CA
I’m very happy with your Arbequina Blend. It’s smooth and fresh. It makes everything taste elegant. I love it. I also love your Minerva olive oil.Cheri R.
The Strawberry Parfait apples made a lovely, fluffy applesauce in a soft pink color. Not as deep a color as the Pink Pearls, and the flavor is milder than other varieties in the markets here - but very pretty nonetheless... With a wee bit of my "secret ingredient" it tastes great!Jennie C.
I recently picked up some Gold Ridge Organic Farms strawberry parfait apples from Whole Foods. They are some of the best apples I’ve ever had.Samantha E.
Excellent packaging and true authentic organic extra virgin olive oil with the bite to the palate that distinguishes it from poor quality and purported EV olive oils. Thanks again expect repeated orders to come!Ty J., Hemet, CA
LOVE IT!!! I take a shot of olive oil every day. (Along w/all the other stuff we use EVOO for!). Picholine Blend is high in polyphenols, which is why I chose this blend… I'm after the health benefits of higher polyphenols… I love that Gold Ridge is organic, I love all the awards they have, I love that they are a small farm, I love the taste and quality of the olive oil!Ashley C., Murrieta, CA
I received my shipment in good order. I have opened the Tuscan Blend and was very impressed with its flavor and finish. The others I have not tried at this time. Since I, also, am a very small olive grower and making some organic extra virgin olive oil, I love to try other oils.Marilyn M., Calistoga, CA
Love love love my order! I was introduced to the goldridge olive oil from My real good greens delivery that I started. I love the olive oil so much that I order a bottle almost every week. I also told a girlfriend about it, she ordered some, and I ordered some for My mom and sister who live in New York. I have never had such amazing olive oil, and absolutely love it! ThanksNancy S., San Francisco, CA
Five Stars!!!! Thank you Andrea and Brooke! LOVE your product!!! Hope that Montage Healdsburg can send guests for tasting, special events some day! Hotel opens November 18!!Laurie S., San Clemente, CA
I am happy with the Arbequina olive oil. I had been looking for a long time for an olive oil appropriate for making a vinaigrette that was flavorful without being overpowered by the strong taste of the olive oil. And now I have found it! Thank you!Deborah , Del Mar, CA
We love this oil. I feel better about consuming an oil that is actually good for you as long as I don’t over heat it or use too much of it at onceIrene D., Port Townsend, WA
Amazing!!!Merhunisa K., Bronx, NY
I love this olive oil. I had been looking and trying many olive oils to try to find a mild but flavorful oil that would not overwhelm salad dressings and vegetables. This is absolutely a perfect oil for these purposes. I now also use it as my overall go to olive oil. It enhances and does not detract from other flavor profiles. Just delicious! I also love the pouring spout that was included in my first order. I love it so much I even sent this oil to a friend of mine who also loves to cook.Deborah M., Del Mar, CA
We appreciate the chance to support local artists.
We’re on a keto diet that requires us to consume a cup of oil a day. Your sampler has made this program tasty!
It was flawless and the packaging was perfect!
Excellent! Gave some to my mom, sister, and son/fiancé for Xmas. They loved it! My son and fiancé (in colorado) said it is the best olive oil they have ever had! My mom and sister are repeat gifts. My mom asked for more of the goldridge olive oil for Christmas. Always pleased with goldridge.Nancy S., San Francisco, CA
I LOVE your olive oil so much. It is smooth and bright and delightful. AND its the only oil I wanted to provision my upcoming sailing adventure with for 6 months!Aria A., Hallandale Beach, FL
I am very happy with your product. Shipping was fast and quality is excellent!Danielle L., Sequim, WA
Great arrived before we expected it. Andrea is wonderful, she knew what we wanted with just......it begins with a PJohn G., Lake Oswego, WA
I'm only on my first of the trio, Minerva, but I'm already super happy with my order. And, as a longtime connoisseur, you are now one of my favorite olive oils, not kiddin, and will now be in my regular rotation. Thank you for the complimentary pour spout. I never liked their idea as to keep oxygen out. But I love it. Super convenient and makes it easy to pour all over the place.Homero D., Driftwood, TX
Great service and love the olive oil!!Deb , Perry, MO