Fattoria De Nardi
“Fattoria” is “farm” in Italian, and though growing and producing extra-virgin olive oil is our main focus, we like to dabble in many things on the farm.
Our olive orchard sits on 5.5 acres outside of Winters, in Northern California, just West of Sacramento and about 1 hour East of San Francisco. The orchard is comprised of nearly 400 olive trees, most for the production of extra-virgin olive oil (Frantoio, Maurino, Leccino, Taggiasca) and few for the the production of table olives (Lucques, Picholine).
We farm organically, though we’re not certified organic. In the Winter we grow cover crop (vetch, flax) for soil enrichment, and then mow it in the Spring. We use a combination of drip irrigation and micro sprinklers for watering efficiency, and tractor mowing and old-fashioned hand hoeing for weed abatement. Pruning is an ongoing process in the orchard, both for managing tree size to enable hand-harvesting, as well as for controlling pests by opening up the canopy to allow for ample light penetration. The steep hillside slopes require the trees to be topped so ladders aren't required at harvest time. During October, the fruit is hand-picked using nets and shoulder baskets, sorted for quality control, and brought to a nearby mill for processing.
We set aside some oil for the making of cold processed soap: a combination of olive oil, coconut oil, lye and essential oils make for a rich, smooth, supple and fragant soap.
During Sept we’re usually buying grapes locally and making wine: Cabernet, Zinfandel, Pinot Noir and Barbera. Michael’s uncle started making wine in the early 90’s and Michael would join him in picking Napa Cab or Sangiovese with a slew of other Italians. So it was an easy transition to making wine. Taking wine classes at the UC Davis extension also helped!
Our Fattoria is open anytime for a drive-by, a walk-about, for a taste of oil, wine or just to say hi.