Nov 13, 2014

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Best of Oregon: Red Ridge Farms

Red Ridge Farms is located in the heart of Oregon’s breathtaking Willamette Valley.  A quaint gift shop and olive oil tasting bar, a nursery, a wine country inn, a lavender farm, rolling hills of vineyards, a tasting room (with unparalleled views from its outdoor seating), a unique cool-climate olive grove, a stunning events center, and the Pacific Northwest’s only Olioteca producing top-quality cool climate extra virgin olive oils (Oregon Olive Mill), Red Ridge Farms is clearly a ‘destination for the senses.’

Red ridge farms

The entrance to the gift shop, nursery and olive oil tasting bar at Red Ridge Farms. Beautifully appointed accommodations above the shop offer unobstructive valley views.

Durant Vineyards, established in 1973 by the Durant family, is one of Oregon’s pioneering families of the wine industry.  With a focus on Pinot Noir, Chardonnay and Pinot Gris, the Durant’s have been supplying top-notch fruit to many of Oregon’s premiere wineries for forty years.  In 2003, they began crafting their own small-lot vineyard-designate wines under the Durant label, which are produced by well-known winemakers from wineries throughout the Willamette Valley.  Isabelle Dutarte from Deponte Cellars and 1789 Wines, Marcus Goodfellow of Matello Wines, Jesse Lange of Lange Estate and Chad Stock of Minimus Wines and Omero Cellars, are just some of the vintners that have worked with the Durant’s to produce the fabulous Durant wines.

RRF view from tasting room outdoor seating

The view of Durant Vineyards and beyond from seating just outside the tasting room.

Red Ridge Farms’ Oregon Olive Mill was completed in 2008, and the Mill sits on the lower level of the events center – looking out over a portion of their 13,000 olive trees that are planted on over 17 acres of land in the beautiful Dundee Hills.  The on-site olive tree varietals include Arbequina, Leccino, Mission, Pendolino, Koroneiki, and Picual; in addition to, other varieties they are currently experimenting with.  Second generation farmer and Master Miller, Paul Durant, is successfully creating a cool-climate olive oil culture with the quality oils that are being produced, tasted and sold on-site and on-line.  And the first ever Pacific Northwest Cool Climate Extra Virgin Olive Oil Conference took place in early 2014 in their beautiful events center that sits just above the olive mill.  I’ve had the pleasure of attending several olive-oil centric events where, I’ve tasted and evaluated a variety of olive oils, and where famous Portland chef Vitaly Paley has created amazingly delectable feasts using the oils from Oregon Olive Mill.

The events center sits just above the Olive Mill, where annual events like the Fall Harvest Dinner (pictured) and the Cool Climate Olive Oil Conference takes place.

The events center sits just above the Olive Mill, where annual events like the Fall Harvest Dinner (pictured) and the Cool Climate Olive Oil Conference takes place.

To celebrate the 2014 milling season and the recent announcement of the 2015 Second Annual Pacific Northwest Cool Climate Extra Virgin Olive Oil Conference, taking place February 28 and March 1, 2015, Oregon Olive Mill is hosting a social media contest from November 11 through November 23 – during their 6th Annual Olio Nuovo Festival which celebrates the freshness of the just milled olive oils.  To participate in the contest, simply upload a photo of your favorite way to use Extra Virgin Olive Oil on their facebook contest page here.   The grand prize is a weekend getaway to Red Ridge Farms, including lodging and a pair of tickets to the 2015 conference.

Frantoio about to be added into the dressing for the fresh slaw ingredients

Frantoio about to be added into the dressing for the fresh slaw ingredients

Since attending the 2014 Pacific Northwest Cool Climate Extra Virgin Olive Oil Conference; as well as, blissfully delighting in several EVOO-centric meals and tastings, I’ve become a huge fan of Oregon Olive Mill’s EVOOs – in particular, I have a thing for the vibrancy of Frantoio.  I drizzle it on just about everything, and I especially enjoy creating entire meals that are centered around it.  With as much as I love and use the Frantoio, I decided to enter the contest by making one of my favorite EVOO meals and taking photos during the cooking process.

Frantoio into the dressing mix - adding loads of flavor!

Frantoio into the dressing mix – adding loads of flavor!

I made Frantoio slow cooker BBQ Pulled Pork sandwiches topped with home-made Frantoio-based coleslaw.  Far from ordinary pulled pork sandwiches, it’s the Frantoio that makes this dish amazingly tasty and delicious.  And of course I had to pair it with a Durant Vineyards Pinot Noir.

When I make something without a recipe – in other words, when I create my own recipe such as the coleslaw, I use on the pulled pork sandwiches – I cook to taste.  I add a little of this and a little of that until it tastes just right.  So here’s what I do (measurements are not exact, so make it work for you):

The amazing slaw sauce - best cole slaw of all time!

The amazing slaw sauce – best coleslaw of all time!

SAUCE: 1-1/2 cups Bestfoods Mayonnaise, 2 tbsp Oregon Olive Mill EVOO Frantoio, 1 tbsp apple cider vinegar, 1/2 tbsp peach balsamic (white) vinegar. Cracked sea salt, cracked Tellicherry pepper to taste. Mix until blended well.

SLAW: 1/2 head red cabbage sliced thin, 1/2 cup chopped shallots, 1/2 cup fresh shredded cilantro, 1/4 cup shredded carrots,1/4 cup sliced scallions. Blend everything together and chill for 2 hours.

PORK:  3 ib. pork roast, rubbed with Frantoio Extra Virgin Olive Oil and desired spices and add 1 packets of McCormick Slow Cookers BBQ Pulled Pork Seasoning (yep, and it’s delicious) follow the directions on the packet.

Voile! Frantoio Cole Slaw

Voile! Frantoio Coleslaw

After 8 hours of slow cooking, the pork shreds easily and is saturated with the delicious BBQ seasonings and flavors.  It is absolutely divine, but once the cole slaw is added on top, and everything is packed inside a sandwich size slice of a Rustic Italian loaf, it’s a tasty treat like none-other.  And at my house, there’s never a meal without wine…ever.  So, in keeping with the Red Ridge Farms, Oregon Olive Mill, Durant Vineyards theme, we decided to try one of the Durant Vineyards Pinot Noirs, a blissful wine that wrapped up tonight’s meal into a perfect evening with the family.  There’s nothing better than witnessing huge, happy smiles on the faces of the three most handsome guys in the world – my husband and our two sons.  Tonight, I was a very happy wife, momma and wine gal.

A stunningly gorgeous Pinot Noir - excellent with the pork.

A stunningly gorgeous Pinot Noir – excellent with the pork.

2012 Durant Vineyards Bishop Pinot Noir:  Made by Isabelle Dutarte of Deponte Cellars and 1789 Wines, this is the ultimate example of why my heart belongs to Pinot Noir.  Pommard planted in 1973, this Pinot is bold and powerful, yet delicate and elegant all at once.  Beautiful cherries and earth balanced by lovely acidity.  A lush, silky mouthfeel and medium body explode mid palate with a wave of juicy, seamless, lusciousness that follows through to an extra long, gorgeous finish. Wow. Wow. Wow.

This meal is enjoyed on Gameday Saturdays by my whole family. Go Ducks!

The Frantoio Slaw and BBQ Pulled Pork isn’t a one time meal-deal in my household – it’s enjoyed each and every Saturday by my whole family for College Gameday football. Go Ducks!

For more Oregon Olive Mill recipes and ideas, visit my Oregon wine writing friends’ Mary Cressler (Vindulge) and Jade Helm (Tasting Pour) websites:

Learning About Olive Oil at the Oregon Olive Mill (Vindulge)

New Year’s Resolution: Use the Good Stuff (Tasting Pour)