KJZZ staff and the Valley jazz community lost a true friend this week. Paul Anderson passed away unexpectedly Jan. 20.
Did You Know: Queen Creek Olive Mill Is A Unique Type Of Farm
There’s a place in the East Valley that feels like you’re thousands of miles away in Italy. The place is filled with wine, food, and olives.
The Queen Creek Olive Mill has been producing extra virgin olive oil for 10 years. The business is a tourist attraction where people can hang out to eat and drink under an olive tree. Did You Know … the olive mill is the state’s only olive farm, mill and retail store?
"I like to grow things. I love to cook. I’m Italian," said Perry Rea, owner of the Queen Creek Olive Mill.
There are 7,100 trees here that produce 16 varieties of olives. Daily tours show just how it’s done. Today, Rea is explaining how his mill produced 6,000 gallons of oil this season.
Rea originally created the olive mill as a hobby. But as more and more people became aware of the home-grown olives and oil making farm, local restaurant chefs became interested in the product. Today, this is the only place in Arizona where olives are grown, milled to produce extra virgin olive oil, and sold.
Bet you’re wondering how can growing olives in Arizona be so fruitful? Well, olive trees — grown for making oil — need little water, the fruit requires long, hot seasons to ripen, and Arizona doesn’t have the type of pests often found in other parts of the world, like the olive fly. Even more helpful, Arizona desert climate helps the olive tree grow faster.
"We’re a local brand and I think I may maintain that local brand, because I like being local,” Rea said.
You may not notice it when you drive up to the farm, but on the roof there are more than 400 solar panels. It makes enough electricity to run the entire mill and produce all of the olive oil, Rea said, ultimately making it a zero carbon footprint product.