The 12th annual Paso Robles Olive Festival will be bringing all things olive to Downtown City Park this Saturday.
Among the vendors in attendance will be Yves and Clotilde Julien from Olea Farm in Templeton. They will not only be showcasing Olea’s award-winning olive oils, but will also be hosting a New Orleans-inspired booth featuring their Carnaval label, a California olive oil specially blended for the festival.
The Juliens originally moved here the Central Coast from their native France to start an antiques business, but their love of Spanish arbequina olive oil eventually led them in an entirely different direction.
After locating a five-acre parcel in Templeton in 2002, the couple planted 1000 arbequina trees and established Olea (Latin for “olive”) Farm. The estate extra-virgin arbequina is still their flagship oil, but the Juliens have added various bottlings and blends of arbosana, another Spanish cultivar; Koroneiki, a Greek varietal; and Italian Tuscan varietals to their product lineup.
“We developed more oils because people were getting more sophisticated and wanted more choices,” Clotilde Julien said.
“When we started, people didn’t really care about olive oil,” Yves Julien said, “but now they want to know what they’re putting on their plate, and they appreciate that it’s a quality, local product.” He added that much of his family's business consists of professional caterers and restaurant chefs, many of whom “are proud to put Olea Farm on their menus.”
The Juliens typically offer about 10 oils for sampling and purchase at their Templeton tasting room. There’s the bold arbequina, recently a gold medal winner at this year’s Olive Japan International Extra Virgin Olive Oil Competition, as well as a milder Tuscan frantoio, a Crescendo arbequina/Tuscan blend, and a traditional Tuscan European blend.
The European blend serves as the base for several flavored olive oils, including kumquat, lemon, tarragon and basil. If you want to bring some heat to the table, try the spicy Les Larmes Du Diable; the name is French for “the tears of the devil.”
Other products such as vinegars, spice blends and cookbooks are also available at the Olea Farm tasting room, which is open to the public from 10 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays and weekdays by appointment.
In addition to expanding their olive oil line and offering additional products at the farm and online, the Juliens have branched out into olive milling and orchard development and management.
“We’ve planted about 150,000 trees for other people,” Yves Julien said.
Typically, after planting and managing an orchard for a client, Olea Farm then harvests the olives for their oils.
When harvest time rolls around, the Juliens can roll into orchards with their custom-built Mill on Wheels, which they designed. Described by the Juliens as the largest mobile olive oil mill in the world, it can process up to two tons of olives an hour and services orchards from Santa Barbara to Carmel.
The mobile setup offers growers expedient, same-day processing of the olives – an important factor in any quality fruit product. Because the milling operation happens onsite and the olives never leave the property, the resulting olive oils are considered estate processed.
Currently, the Juliens are in the final stages of production on a second Mill on Wheels in Paso Robles. Bound for Texas upon completion, it’s almost an exact replica of the original, with one crucial exception.
“Ours is heavier than the new one, so we can still call it the largest mill in the world,” Clotilde Julian said, joking that “if we build another one, we’ll just have to make it an inch shorter.”
Hours: Tasting room open Saturday-Sunday 10 a.m.-4:30 p.m., weekdays by appointment.
The cuisine: Several recipes are included on Olea Farm’s website, as well as information about the purported health benefits of consuming olive oil, which include reduced risk of coronary heart disease.