Did You Know: Queen Creek Olive Mill Is A Unique Type Of Farm

April 25, 2014

(Photo by Nadine Arroyo Rodriguez - KJZZ)
Owner Perry Rea explains how his farm, the Queen Creek Olive Mill, produces extra virgin olive oil.
(Photo by Nadine Arroyo Rodriguez - KJZZ)
The olive grove at the Queen Creek Olive Mill.
(Photo by Nadine Arroyo Rodriguez - KJZZ)
The Queen Creek Olive Mill produces extra virgin olive oil, including specialty oils.
(Photo by Nadine Arroyo Rodriguez - KJZZ)
The Queen Creek Olive Mill sits at the foothills of the San Tan Mountains.

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.