Sure, you could order McEvoy Ranch’s products online—including the extra virgin olive oil products it is known for—but if you are in Sonoma County, California, consider going direct to the source and booking a tour of the property.
For more than three decades, representing three generations, McEvoy’s olive oil has been produced on its 550-acre working farm in Petaluma. Nan McEvoy founded McEvoy Ranch in 1990 and, inspired by her love of Tuscan olive oil, imported 1,000 seedlings from Italy, ultimately turning a former dairy farm into a source of high-quality olive oil. Today, McEvoy also makes other culinary treats (honey, mustard), wine and even beauty products (a line called ODE).
Although you can book just a tasting (for olive oil and/or wine), reserving a spot on the Walkabout Ranch & Art Tour means you get a guided tour of the grounds, including the interiors of some of the buildings. One room features a cabinet painted by family friend Wayne Thiebaud. The tour highlights outdoor works of art at the ranch, too.
There is also a stunning pagoda on-site. Skinks, which dart about the ranch, feature prominently in the octagonal pavilion’s design—from the outsized lizard scaling the copper-shingled conical roof to the cast bronze door handles. The flooring is composed of river rock and bricks, arranged in a decorative pattern, while silk-and-wood Venetian lampshades are suspended from the 42-foot-high blue ceiling. The cupola is sheathed in horizontal boards that create a billowing effect.
The tour concludes with a visit to the olive oil mill and a sampling—the latter taking place by the ranch’s natural pond. Worth noting: In March, McEvoy released its first-ever extra virgin cooking olive oil. It’s made from 100 percent Frantoio olives, yielding an oil with a more subtle, neutral flavor.