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Exotic artisan food made in USA, agritourism: Queen Creek, AZ's Olive Mill

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Arizona's only family-owned, working olive mill and farm is Queen Creek Olive Mill. Queen Creek, Arizona is a community near Mesa. I was very happy to be hosted to experience it!

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This is a true agritourism destination, allowing visitors to take a picnic and a bottle of wine out into the olive groves. Their olives are grown at the base of the San Tan Mountains, an area known for its fertile soil. This flood plain region has long been known for its high quality fruits and vegetables, with the combination of long sunny days and cool desert nights providing the ideal growing conditions for the olive trees.

Famous foodies such as David Rosengarten extol the virtues -- and mind-blowing flavor explosion -- of fresh olive oil. Queen Creek Olive Mill presses their olive oil within 24 hours of harvest and pretty much sells out each harvest within the season. Before Queen Creek Olive Mill, it was a hideously expensive proposition to obtain fresh olive oil, if they could even do it. The New York Times just recently published an article about all of the fake and stale olive oils coming out of Europe and North Africa.

There's an on-site cafe' that uses olives in all kinds of Tuscan-inspired dishes. They also serve local beers.

The gift shop has a treasure trove of products made with their olives, olive oil and house-made vinegars. Many have either a Tuscan or Sonoran flavor bent. They also have beauty and bath products using their olive oil.

Currently, the freshest batchs of olive oils have three flavor profiles: Delicate, Balanced and Robust. On one end, the delicate one is considered best for cream sauces, while the Robust has a pronounced flavor profile. I got the Robust to take home! It's great for drizzling, adding fresh, snappy, herby and fruit flavors to dishes.

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