November 09, 2003
Shawn and Antoinette Addison figured it was time that the Southern California coast had a top quality olive oil mill. They needed the mill for their own olives; they have planted over four thousand trees in the Santa Ynez Valley in Santa Barbara County at the foot of Figueroa Mountain. Without a local mill, growers in the area have been trucking olives for hours to mills in the central valley or the Napa region.
The Addisons are not new to the olive business. They already own an established orchard in Provence. They wanted a professional system where the emphasis would be on organoleptic quality. After much shopping, they settled on the Pieralisi Genius system.
The system has several improvements on traditional mills. A computer console is programmed to control almost all aspects of oil making letting a single operator manage the plant. Motors and pumps have sensors so that they won't run dry and burn up. The double grind mill decreases oxidation and heating of the paste while increasing oil extraction. A pneumatic robot arm loads the malaxation tanks which have a self contained wash system. The tanks are covered to limit oxidation and can even be charged with inert gas.
|Genius system covered malaxation tanks|
The equipment was ordered in June through the local Pieralisi representative, Lisa Deane of The Olive Oil Source. Planners at the factory sent designs for the building and slab. Antoinette related that most of the construction time involved waiting for permits and licenses. Equipment arrived via containership in September and was lifted by crane onto the waiting concrete foundation. The foundation must be poured with troughs and wells for the equipment, pomace and clarifier waste.
|Covered malaxation tanks|
A factory technician spent 5 days along with a local journeyman plumber and electrician installing and testing the equipment. The first ton of olives (which had sat for 3 days after picking) was used mostly for training Shawn and the other operators. Despite this it came out with a very respectable .13 acidity level.
The Addisons also plant and manage olive tree orchards, rejuvenate old overgrown orchards, and harvest olive trees. They are currently interested in buying quality olives.
For information on Figueroa Farms, please call 805-686-4890 or send an e-mail to info@FigueroaFarms.com. For information about Pieralisi equipment in the US. call the Olive Oil Source