01 of 06
Queen Creek Olive Mill
Queen Creek Olive Mill is not an overwhelming or impressive structure, nor is it a terribly famous destination on most tourist itineraries. The Queen Creek Olive Mill is a family owned company that grows and presses olives for the production of high quality extra virgin olive oil. I first visited Queen Creek Olive Oil in 2005, and then again in 2010. It certainly did change in those 5 years! Several fine restaurants around town who are keen on supporting locally owned and operated businesses are using these olive oils in their food preparation.
The Arizona extra virgin olive oil is a blend of several olive varieties. The classic olives of Tuscany; the Lechino, Frantoio, Pendolino, and Lucca; the Mission Olive; the Spanish varietals Manzanillo and Sevillano, as well as the Italian Baroni and Grappelo, and the Greek Kalamata.
The Queen Creek Olive Mill is located at Rittenhouse Rd. south of Ocotillo Road. The address is 25062 S. Meridian Road in Queen Creek.
When you get there, and you see the facility pictured above, you'll ask the same question that almost everyone asks when they walk in the door--where are the olive trees?Continue to 2 of 6 below.
02 of 06
Where Are the Olive Trees?The olive tees that produce the olives processed at the Queen Creek Olive Mill come from various sources, but most of the extra virgin olive oil being produced here comes from a grove of trees less than 1/2 mile from the processing facility.
Perry Rea and his family planted the olive trees in Queen Creek in 1997, and this was the first working olive farm and mill in Arizona. Unfortunately, you won't get to see the olive tree groves on your visit to Queen Creek Olive Mill. That isn't part of the tour.Continue to 3 of 6 below.
03 of 06
Taste the Olive Oils and Olives
Visitors to Queen Creek Olive Mill can sample their products, including flavored extra virgin olive oils, stuffed olives, and tapenades. When Queen Olive Mill first opened to the public in 2005, Perry Rea, owner and master blender, personally answered questions about the olive oils, doled out samples from a folding table and took people on the tour of the facility.
The operation has been enlarged, enhanced and rearranged. Everyone who visits Queen Creek Olive Mill can sample the olive oils produced at the mill. Tour participants also have the opportunity to sample various types of olives.Continue to 4 of 6 below.
04 of 06
Take a Tour of Queen Creek Olive Mill
Tours are offered hourly during business hours in olive-pressing season. Check the Queen Creek Olive Mill website for the schedule. There is a charge for the tour. It lasts about 30 minutes. All ages are welcome to attend the tour, but in my opinion it might not be appropriate for young children; there's quite a bit of sitting or standing and listening involved, and not much activity.Continue to 5 of 6 below.
05 of 06
Shopping! Olive Oil, Olives and More
There are many flavors of extra virgin olive oil (EVOO) available in the store, as well as olives, tapenades (olive and olive oil spreads), and other locally produced products such as nuts, honey, and crackers. There are pre-packaged gift boxes, too.
The store at Queen Creek Olive Mill accepts credit cards. Need a housewarming gift? A 'Welcome to Arizona' gift? Something for the relatives back east? Problem solved! You can also order products from Queen Creek Olive Mill online.
All dates, times, prices and offerings are subject to change without notice.Continue to 6 of 6 below.
06 of 06
Relax and Enjoy at the Eatery
At Queen Creek Olive Mill you can enjoy a Tuscan-inspired meal at the Eatery. Serving breakfast and lunch, the focus here is on organic and local Arizona foods. You can also enjoy home-made gelato, baked goods, and other specialty food items here.
We stopped to have lunch one day after our tour of the Queen Creek Olive Mill. We shared the Vegetable Antipasto (grilled seasonal vegetables, artisan cheeses, seasonal fruits, local nuts and del Piero Hummus served with grilled olive bread), and ordered a Kalamata Sandwich (Italian and kalamata salami, capicola, herb roasted tomatoes, leafy greens, provolone, red onion and White Balsamic & Herb Crema on a grilled baguette), a Manzi Panini (Tequila lime roasted chicken, fontina cheese, Sun Dried Tomato & Parmesan Tapenade and White Balsamic & Herb Crema) and an Arbequina Panini (Smoked Beef, roasted peppers, caramelized onions, provolone and Garlic Parmesan Crema).
Sandwiches are served with a small side of olives and some chips. We enjoyed all of them, but the antipasto was the highlight for me. A small gelato to top off the meal was just right - the day I was there they offered flavors like blood orange, peppermint stick and roasted banana in addition to some typical favorites.
We couldn't have eaten one more thing, so I took a 4-pack of Olive Oil Cupcakes home with me! Delicious!
The menu might change, but if you enjoy supporting local businesses and ordering from a creative menu, Eatery is a great place to stop for a casual lunch or breakfast. It's not romantic, and probably not suitable for a business meeting, but it's miles better (albeit miles farther away) than your chain-type sandwich shop. Kids will like it, too.