I won’t dwell on the weather since many friends and family members are suffering in less than perfect conditions, but after several days of brutally and unusually cold weather here in San Antonio, the sun came out on Wednesday, the milder temperatures returned, and Bill and I headed to Sandy Oaks Olive Orchard!
We had visited the orchard two years ago and experienced a wonderfully delicious lunch; we were hoping for the same today. I was also in search of the orchard’s skin care oil, which I have been using since our last visit.
What a warm and inviting place! Our first stop was what we thought was The Kitchen, the orchard’s farm-to-table cafe, but it appeared to be closed – how disappointing. We walked over to the product showroom and tasting room only to discover that the cafe was now located there – tables made primarily from pecan wood tastefully interspersed amidst the olive oil products – the thought being how convenient for guests to roam the product showroom as they wait for their lunch to arrive! Imagine how elated we were to realize our meal was still an option – and what a delightful meal it was!
All meals at The Kitchen begin with the orchard’s olive bread – served with olive oil and a choice of Mediterranean sea salt or jalapeno sea salt. Bill enjoyed a Muffuletta sandwich and a cup of broccoli/cheese soup, while I tried the tomato basil soup and a garden fresh salad. Even though we’ve been trying to eliminate dessert, we couldn’t pass up a slice of limoncello cake – perhaps the most moist cake I have ever tasted!
During and following our lunch, we learned a lot about the orchard, olive trees, and the harvesting process from our server, Christi. A few of the facts she shared include…
- The owner of the orchard, Saundra “Sandy” Winokur started the orchard with a handful of trees almost two decades ago and had her first harvest – a small one – three years later.
- There are now 12,000 olive trees thriving on 128 acres. An additional 200+ acres are dedicated to cattle, and the owner’s gorgeous home also sits on the property.
- All the harvesting is done by hand and occurs between August and September each year. The orchard depends on its employees and local friends and neighbors to complete the harvesting process.
- The harvest begins when there are an equal number of red, green and black olives on the trees. At that point, the process is a quick one as the press begins when there are 500 pounds of olives picked and ready!
- People who purchase olive trees from Sandy Oaks are invited to bring their olives back to the orchard during harvest time. The orchard buys them back by the pound and processes them, recognizing the various “olive producers,” as seen on this banner hanging in the showroom.
After a very engaging chat with Christi about olives, our workamping adventures, and life in general, we selected our products – dirty martini juice, olive tapenade, and oh yes, my skin care oil, we walked through the orchard grounds before leaving Sandy Oaks Orchard…yet another delightful afternoon in Texas.
Stay Calm and Travel On…