Sustainable, Organic Production Helps One California Producer Standout

June 10, 2021

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.”

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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

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! Thanks

Nancy 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 once

Irene 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.

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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!

Thank you.

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John 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.

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Great service and love the olive oil!!

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