In the waning days of another Oregon wine grape season, vineyards show off colorful leafy leftovers that light up the hills near Dundee in Yamhill County. But just across the way, at Red Ridge Farms near Dayton – there’s another harvest that is just hitting its stride.

If beauty is in the eyes of the beholder, Oregon’s latest olive crop is downright gorgeous to orchard owner Ken Durant and his son Paul Durant, who told me that there is special beauty in an olive tree.

The bold entrepreneurs have planted 13,000 olive trees across 15 Oregon acres with varieties that sport exotic names like “Arbequina,” “Arbosana” and “Koroneiki.”

According to Paul Durant, the Oregon Olive Mill Manager, the family hopes to compliment the Oregon wine grape landscape with something new. Paul added that the oil type olives require fewer chemicals than wine grapes, they are bird proof and the fruit is easily harvested.

However, there is one worry on everyone’s mind: Oregon’s cold, downright nasty winter weather – where the snow can pile high, last for weeks and take a toll on young fragile olive trees.

Last year, the Durant’s Oregon Olive Mill bottled 350 gallons of extra-virgin olive oil and they hope to grow even bigger this year. The olive oil market is vast and offers plenty of room to grow. America’s love affair with olive oil is pegged at 70 million gallons a year.

The Oregon Olive Mill at Red Ridge Farms includes fine wines that are produced from the Durant Vineyards and offers olive oil tasting and more – you can spend the night in a fully furnished apartment that offers a stunning view to the surrounding hills.

Plus, the property is open to exploration so you can wander and watch and learn about a new enterprise that’s taking root in Oregon. There are several exciting fall events including the Olio Nuova Festa (New Olive Oil Celebration) that are worth your time to visit.

Editor’s Note: Grant’s Getaways is a production of Travel Oregon brought to you in association with Oregon State Parks, Oregon Dept. of Fish & Wildlife and Oregon State Marine Board. Episodes air Thursdays and Saturdays on KGW Newschannel 8 and Saturdays on Northwest Cable News Network.

About the Author: Grant McOmie

Grant McOmie is a Pacific Northwest broadcast journalist, teacher and author who writes and produces stories and special programs about the people, places, outdoor activities and environmental issues of the Pacific Northwest. A fifth generation Oregon native, Grant’s roots run deepest in the central Oregon region near Prineville and Redmond where his family continues to live.

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In this Grant’s Getaway

These maps and directions are for planning purposes only. You may find that construction projects, traffic, or other events may cause road conditions to differ from the map results. For travel options, weather and road conditions, visit tripcheck.com, call 511 (in Oregon only), 800.977.6368 or 503.588.2941.

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  1. Speakthetruth says…

    I am amazed! I have never seen an olive tree in Oregon. Yet, I was also amazed to find that we have a lavender industry on the dry side of the Cascades! Now would somebody PLEASE step up to the plate and plant a nice fig orchard? I’m getting hungry!

    Written on November 19th, 2010 / Flag this Comment
  2. Carole says…

    We visited during the olive oil tasting in November. It was a new experience (and an expensive one – we walked away with a few things).

    I’ve read about early pioneers bringing a few olive trees to Oregon via the Oregon Trail, but never knew that anyone had started a large orchard, or that we produced olive oil here.

    I’d definitely recommend visiting if you never have.

    Written on December 29th, 2010 / Flag this Comment
  3. Lorita says…

    Love the picture of the autumn colors. I never knew Oregon had an olive oil mill. Interesting.

    Written on December 30th, 2010 / Flag this Comment
  4. Gerald Martin says…

    directions to Oregon Olive Mill from Newberg. Thank you

    Written on May 28th, 2011 / Flag this Comment

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