Fragrant, flavorful olive oil has been around since biblical times. It’s been used as medicine, food, and to anoint the heads of honored heroes. The olive tree’s leafy branches have become symbols of peace and emblems of abundance. Olive oil has a storied history that makes chefs smile and diners rave.
Queen Creek is home to Arizona’s first working olive farm and mill. At Queen Creek Olive Mill, a grove with thousands of trees is the source for gourmet extra virgin olive oils. Stuffed olives, tapenades, bath and body products, local vendor and artisan wares, and those oils line the aisles of the mill’s gourmet marketplace. Owners Perry and Brenda Rea cordially invite groups to tour, taste, and discover why their exceptionally high quality extra virgin olive oil (EVOO for short) is sought after by some of the area’s top restaurants and most discriminating palates.
The tour begins in a small grove near the mill, with an introduction to different types of olives and how they are harvested. In the mill itself, the guide explains the processes of milling the olives, extracting their oil, and how the Master Blender puts his signature on the finished product by determining how the flavor attributes (grassy, peppery, fruity, bitter, buttery) will be combined. Oil is then stored in oxygen-free stainless steel tanks where it stays fresh, bottled only as needed to fulfill customer purchases.
As visitors peruse the mill and on-site gourmet marketplace, they are offered extensive product tastings including gourmet olives stuffed with treats (like mesquite-smoked almonds, sun-baked tomato and basil, and Maytag blue cheese), savory tapenades, and of course, the mill’s extra virgin olive oil selections. All sampled products, in addition to locally produced wares, are available for purchase, along with a selection of boutique wines, freshly baked artisan breads, and EVOO-based bath and body products. Items can also be shipped.
The Reas are justly proud of their completely natural olive oils. Sustainable farming practices and a commitment to utilize local products demonstrate the couple’s dedication to the environment, and the health of customers and the surrounding community. Groups of up to 200 are invited to take a 30 minute tour, sample the products, browse the gourmet marketplace, and enjoy lunch from del Piero at the Mill (seated indoors, on the Tuscan-style shaded patio, or out in the olive grove). The Group Tour Package (information available on the mill’s website) includes a mill tour, lunch, cookie, and drink. Group tours must be booked at least 14 days in advance, and a 30% deposit assures the tour lunch will be packaged in recyclable picnic boxes and ready for guests at the requested time. Del Piero at the Mill has an extensive menu, including a variety of sandwiches, salads, soups, and breakfast items.
Free pull-in bus parking puts guests 25 level feet from the mill entrance, and all facilities are ADA-accessible.