In Italian, Il Fiorello means little flower. Look closely at an olive tree in bloom and you’ll see those little flowers. They turn into olives just waiting to be milled into delicious olive oil at the place named for them…Il Fiorello in Fairfield.
Family owned, Il Fiorello has come a long way since their first harvest of six pounds from 170 trees. Now, there are over 2,000 trees producing 13 varieties of olives. All hand-picked, if you can imagine that. Did you know those trees can live to be 1,000 years old?
And, that’s not all they do here. The entire operation is one of a few which include a visitor center, a milling operation, and a comprehensive growing operation. Add in their cooking classes, olive oil and balsamic tastings, wine tastings, tour of the facility where you will learn what the term extra virgin means as well as how different varieties taste different when made into oil, and you have an experience you won’t soon forget.
This past year they became certified organic…something that takes sustainability to a whole new level. Wandering around the grounds, it’s easy to see the attention to detail, countless raised beds of herbs and vegetables, rows and rows of olive trees, and owl boxes for predator control. Go inside and taste the difference in oils. Ask questions. Do you know how many olives it takes to produce that bottle you have sitting in your kitchen? Not only will they tell you, they’ll show you.
If you go at milling time…no longer called pressing and no longer done with donkeys…you’ll have an entirely new perspective on how you get your olive oil. Milling three tons per hour, with about 100 pounds at a time, those machines are impressive. This milling operation is one of about 50 in the United States and we’re fortunate to have it here in our backyard. And, if you grow olive and want to turn them into oil, they do custom milling for about 200 growers.
If you like to cook and learn about cooking, you’ve come to the right place. You’ve probably heard of the farm-to-table movement. The chef and cooking classes here at Il Fiorello take that a step further and actually show you how to use what you grow. There are demonstrations and hands-on classes.
Check out their schedule for their cooking classes and tours and make your reservation. Stop in to taste olive oils and vinegars. Whatever you do here, you’ll come away having learned something new. I did.
If You Go: Il Fiorello is located at 2625 Mankas Corner Road, Fairfield, CA. Their website is www.ilfiorello.comand phone number is 707.864.1529. For tours and cooking classes, you need to make a reservation.