20 Jun

In Paso, oil and wine can mix

By Jeanne Kinney,

Joshua Yaguda, co-owner of Pasolivo Olive Oil, is proving that Paso Robles is more than wine country.

Yaguda, his wife, Joeli, and his mother, Karen Guth, run the 140-acre Willow Creek Olive Ranch, where each year about 50 laborers are able to hand-pick up to 10 tons of olives a day. After picking, the olives are cleaned, washed, crushed and spun. The leftovers are put back into the orchard as compost.

Thanks to a new Pieralisi press, which Pasolivo purchased in time for the 2005 harvest, one ton of olives can be milled every hour. Last year, Pasolivo produced 4,000 gallons of oil.

Though Europe is by far the bigger olive oil producer, Yaguda said he sees potential for growth in the United States. He’s working to change attitudes so that people learn more about the taste and health benefits of olive oil.

The olive oil industry, he said, is “where the wine industry was in this country 50 years ago.”

What you see: The ranch is surrounded by rolling hills with oaks and olive trees. There are also two houses, a barn left over from the days when the ranch was owned by Hollywood director King Vidor and a tasting room/mill.

Inside, the tasting room has artwork, cookbooks and shelves filled with packaged olives, olive oils and vinegars. In the rear is a room of floor-to-ceiling modern stainless steel equipment, set up like chutes and ladders leading to six 500- gallon tanks.

What he sees: After washing, the olives are crushed in a double-grid hammer mill. “This process should begin within hours of picking,” Yaguda said. “Waiting one day is too long.”

Next, the tissues are broken down and the oils are released in malaxirs. “At picking, an olive is as good as it gets,” said Yaguda, who describes his job at this stage as the only one he controls in the milling process.

“When I walk in the door, I see the press, which is my baby,” he said. “You really have to love this to do what we do because it’s so much work.”

In the press, a large centrifuge, the oil is separated from the water and paste. The remaining oil goes to a second centrifuge, where it is ‘polished’ or cleared. Then it’s ‘racked’ in one of the 500-gallon stainless steel tanks.

Olive oil holds its peak flavors for about 18 months. What he likes best: I like creating with my hands and the satisfaction of sharing that with other people. I like our new facility, which is roomier and more efficient. Everything is much easier to work with now.

What he would change: I would change the time of harvest to when it is warmer and not raining — and not Thanksgiving and Christmas. I’d also skip the allergy season.

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One Response to “In Paso, oil and wine can mix”

  1. Soured Says:

    In my opinion, Karen Guth and Joshua Yaguda are crooks! Go to uncoveredslo.com and search keywords “Estate Financial” their other business. You’ll see how their local community feels about them! Wonder where their real money comes from? It’s sickening! Read all the blogs – you will be shocked. I’ll never do any business with this family, they’re only rich because they’ve taken money from investors (many elderly) without ethics or morals from this community leaving the investors broke. Karen blames it on the economics – ha! They’ve started up dozens of LLCs without telling their investors, lended money to themselves, payed themselves for managing these companies, lied about the real facts causing investors to go broke. She’s a real peice of art. It’s sickening! People aren’t suppose to treat people this way and may the world know it! If you don’t believe me, what until the federal agents are done with them! You’ll see!

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