A visit to the Queen Creek Olive Mill will have you inspired to make olive oil part of your daily routine, and not just when it comes to cooking.
Chances are, there is a bottle of olive oil sitting in your kitchen cabinet right now. Being that olive oil is one of the most commonly used cooking ingredients, it makes sense to always have it on hand. From frying and sauteing, to drizzling over a refreshing salad or using it as a replacement for butter, olive oil is a multipurpose kitchen staple. Not only is it versatile in its use case, but like wine, you can find olive oil in a variety of flavors and notes.
We can experience the vast world of olive oil right in our own backyard—at the Queen Creek Olive Mill located in Queen Creek, Arizona. The estate is an agritourism destination where visitors from all over the valley (and beyond) can immerse themselves in the traditions that extra virgin olive oil (EVOO) inspires.
Perry and Brenda Rea
It all started with Perry and Brenda Rea—plus their five children—who had a vision of providing the community with fresh, local EVOO. Twenty five years ago, the couple moved to Arizona with a dream of planting olive trees, and after a lot of research and obtaining their Olive Oil Sommelier certificates in Italy, their dream came to life. What started as a farm shed has transformed into the well-oiled (pun intended) machine it is today, made possible by the hardworking staff, amazing partners and of course, those who come to visit.
Once you walk through the doors, you will be greeted by rows of olive oil in every flavor you can imagine, including Persian lime, Valencia orange, bacon and vanilla bean. Plastic cups are sprinkled throughout, so you can do a taste test before you add a bottle to your collection.
Every bottle of olive oil you find on the shelves is made in small batches with love under the supervision of a professional olive oil sommelier. As you continue to shop, you’ll find a variety of vinegars, spices, sauces, tapenades and, a fine selection of stuffed olives—a gift any dirty martini connoisseur would love.
What started as a farm shed has transformed into the well-oiled (pun intended) machine it is today, made possible by the hardworking staff, amazing partners and of course, those who come to visit.
Speaking of gifts, the Olive Mill has something for everyone. The shop is full of gift sets, apparel, kitchen tools and other souvenirs to remind you of your time at the Mill! You may even want to snag some items from Olivespa, the olive mill’s collection of small-batch, hand-crafted, plant-based products including skin care, soaps, deodorant, baby powder and so much more. All Olivespa products are cruelty-free and made from raw ingredients, including a fresh high polyphenol EVOO.
When you’re done adding items to your hand basket, grab a bite to eat from Olive Mill’s scratch kitchen. Experience fresh farm-to-table cuisine for any meal and taste olive oil infused dishes like Vanilla Bean Olive Oil Waffles or the Queen Creek Chopped Salad. While you’re ordering, be sure to add a cupcake, cannoli or cookie from the bakery to your order. All sweets and treats are made with EVOO and created from traditional family recipes! And, if you can make room for any more dessert, Angelo’s Gelato, a Queen Creek Olive Mill Partner-In-Passion, provides visitors with gelato and Italian ice made from the finest ingredients.
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If you want to make the most of your visit, take the Olive Oil 101 class, where you’ll learn how the EVOO is made at the Queen Creek Olive Mill and how it’s best used in the kitchen. Your guide will also teach you how to correctly taste olive oil (believe it or not, no bread!) and help you pick out the right oil for you in the marketplace. The class lasts about 45 minutes and is only $7 per person, or free for those 12 and under.
There are many opportunities to experience The Mill—Pizza Date Night, Sangria Social and Grill at the Mill are just a few of the events available to the public. Or, if you ever need to restock on any olive oil based goods and you’re in Scottsdale, you can always stop by the Queen Creek Olive Mill Marketplace at Kierland Commons!
Queen Creek Olive Mill Kierland
OLIVE OIL FACTS
Before you visit to the Queen Creek Olive Mill, here are some interesting olive oil facts and health benefits to inspire you to incorporate it into your lifestyle.
Olive oil comes in several grades, each of which vary in their nutritional benefits and the amount of processing they undergo before making it to your kitchen. Of the three grades, refined, virgin and extra virgin, the latter is the least processed and is widely considered the healthiest type of oil.
What makes it so healthy? Its high antioxidant content coupled with the fact that EVOO is loaded with a type of healthy fat, monounsaturated fatty acids, which has been linked to benefitting heart health. Also found in EVOO are vitamins E and K—vitamin E doubles as an antioxidant while vitamin K helps to make proteins needed for blood clotting, bone health and heart health.
Studies show that EVOO is responsible for many of the health benefits of the Mediterranean diet, and it’s been found that traditionally, those living in Mediterranean countries show lower incidence of breast, colorectal, endometrium and prostate cancers when compared to other parts of Europe and the United States.
While these health benefits are enough to make anyone want to incorporate this superfood into their diets, olive oil has a lot more on its resume. Olive oil was first produced as much as 8,000 years ago, but our ancient ancestors weren’t only using it for meal prep. It seems that they also knew the health benefits that come along with this liquid gold.
Hippocrates dubbed olive oil “the great healer” and found more than sixty uses for it in the world of medicine including healing skin conditions, wounds and burns, ear infections and so much more.
“Let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food.” – Hippocrates
Before Greek and Spartan athletes participated in games, olive oil was applied to their bodies in preparation. The winners at the Olympic games would receive a wreath made of olive branches as their trophy, which then eventually became a symbol of peace.
Adding a thin layer of olive oil to the skin after a shower or a fresh wax will act as a moisturizer and a great remedy for extra-dry skin. Some research suggests that the use of olive oil as skin care can do more than just moisturize your skin—it can promote wound healing, slow the appearance of aging and even reduce inflammation. Olive oil will provide a close shave and even prevent razor burn, which also makes it a great substitute for shaving cream.
You can also use it as a natural face mask! Either alone or combined with other natural ingredients like egg yolk or honey, olive oil can be applied directly to your face. But, to prevent blocked pores, be sure to wipe off excess oil afterward.
If you’re someone who suffers from split ends or thinning hair, massaging olive oil on your scalp could be the treatment you’ve been searching for. The vitamin E in olive oil helps strengthen hair follicles and can even help with hair loss.
FOR YOUR PETS
Your four-legged family members can also benefit from this magic in a bottle. Adding a small amount of olive oil to your cat’s food about once a week can help prevent hairballs and the struggles that come along with them.
For dogs, EVOO can have a positive effect on skin, coat and joints. It can also be used to prevent fleas and fight the bacteria that causes ear infections. And, like in humans, the monounsaturated fats found in olive oil break down fat and can result in weight loss for your pet.
So, next time you go to add a bottle of olive oil to your shopping list, add another and reap all of the benefits of this magic elixir.