Archive for September, 2013

Orchard Tours in Marin County

McEvoy Ranch

McEvoy Ranch

Looking for something fun and eco-friendly to do with the family or a loved one? McEvoy Ranch, one of the largest U.S. producers of estate-grown, certified organic extra virgin olive oil, is hosting olive orchard tours, a cooking demonstration and a wreath-making workshop, just in time for the upcoming fall holidays.

During the McEvoy Ranch tours, guests have a rare opportunity to view the 550-acre ranch, which is a private residence, located in the Marin County hills west of Petaluma.  Depending upon the event, guests can discuss the horticulture of growing olive trees in California, the Ranch’s certified organic practices, and harvesting techniques.

Bottling the olive oil

Bottling the olive oil

Advance reservations are required and tickets for the popular tours cost $30 per person for the Orchard Walk and Mill Tour; $85 for the Cooking Demonstration; and $60 per person for the Wreath-Making Workshop.

The Orchard Walk and Mill Tour ($30) explores the horticulture of growing olive trees, the ranch’s certified organic practices and their harvest techniques.  In addition to a close-up view of the orchards, guests will visit the frantoio — or olive milling room — for an explanation of McEvoy Ranch’s extraordinary process of extracting olive oil.  The visit concludes with a sensory evaluation of the olive oil and discussion of its culinary uses.  The remaining 2013 Orchard Walk and Mill Tours take place from 10 a.m. to noon on Saturday, September 7; Saturday, September 28; and Saturday, October 12.

The Cooking Demonstration is led by McEvoy Ranch Head Chef Gerald Gass.  Using seasonal ingredients from the ranch’s organic gardens, Gass will showcase some culinary ideas and techniques as he prepares a selection of delectable tastes.  In addition, the afternoon will include a walk through the kitchen garden — the source of much of the produce used at the ranch — as well as an overview of the history of the ranch, including its commitment to environmental responsibility and the production of its award-winning olive oil.  The cooking demonstration is on Saturday, August 24, from 1 to 4 p.m. and costs $85/person.

mcevoy olive oil products

At the Wreath-Making Workshop this hands-on workshop inspires guests to bring the natural beauty of McEvoy Ranch to doors or tabletops with festive, homemade wreaths, swags and candle rings.  Guests will be guided through the process of choosing seasonal greenery and building a wreath, with experts sharing information about some of McEvoy Ranch’s favorite plant materials, tips for decorative items that can be collected throughout the year, and hands-on instruction.  All materials are provided and guests can take home their assembled wreaths. The workshop is Saturday, November 2, from 9:30 a.m. to 12 p.m. and costs $60/person.

Visitors on all tours can also purchase other McEvoy Ranch estate-produced items from the ranch’s retail store including the 80 Acres body care line enriched with McEvoy Ranch organic olive oil, as well as fruit and vegetable preserves and condiments, cured olives and, of course, McEvoy Ranch Extra Virgin Olive Oil.

Truffle Hunting, Wine Tasting, and Bike Riding in Piedmont!

That's a truffle. Don't get any funny ideas.

That’s a truffle. Don’t get any funny ideas.

A Truffle huntin’ we will go, a truffle huntin’ we will go!

Who wants to wine taste, bike ride AND hunt for truffles? Who wouldn’t?

Ciclismo Classico, a leading outfitter of cycling vacations around the globe, is offering a food and wine focused Italy cycling tour in which guests stay in family-run luxury hotels, dine at the best local restaurants, and pedal through the vineyards and villages of Piedmont.



The most important vineyard centers of Gavi, Acqui Terme, Alba, lower Monferrato and Turin serve as the focal points of this eight-day tour. On exclusive winery visits, local experts discuss the tradition of winemaking and the nuances of the area’s many microclimates that give the wine its prized sophistication. Who wouldn’t want to learn about wines in Italy too? With great wine comes cuisine that includes a blend of Northern Italian and French influences, with the truffle and mushrooms as seasonal key players. Other highlights include: hunting truffles with local truffle hunter, biking emerald valleys & vineyard-laden hillsides, exclusive wine tastings and sumptuous dinners.

Riding through vineyards

Riding through vineyards

This tour happens Oct 12 – 19, 2013 and starts at $4,395 so it’s not too late to get on it!

This intermediate Piedmont bike tour covers 250 total miles and averages 40 miles per day. The trip starts with a ride from Gavi to Acqui Terme, passing Castles of Monferrato, a hilly area where each village is protected by a castle. The vineyards of Dolcetto, Cortese, and Moscato are the landmarks of this area. Fantastic food, fine wine, and a daily workout really makes this an ideal Italy holiday.

Guests cruise the vineyards of Barolo and Monforte, and enjoy breathtaking views of the Langhe Area. Along the way, Carlosa local truffle hunter will give a special demonstration with his loyal dogLara. The months of October and November see the frenzy and competition of truffle season as both hunters and buyers compete to find the wonderful fungi. Alba is the truffle capital of Italy and throughout each weekend of both months, it hosts truffle mayhem with the White Truffle World Auction and the Truffle of the Year. The International Truffle Fair is happening Oct 12 – Nov 17, 2013.

Ah, Piedmont...

Ah, Piedmont…

The landscape offers a patchwork series of vineyards as well as fruit and nut tree farms. Guests continue riding north, entering the round hills area of Monferrato. On the final day, riders head west toward Turin, capital city of Piedmont. Along the way, the route offers a rollercoaster ride up and down the lower hills of Monferrato. The last climb approaches Superga, an important monument in the hearth of all the “turineis.” From here a magnificent panorama of the 2006 Olympic site appears.

For more information check out: Italy cycling tours or visit

%d bloggers like this: