Queen Creek Olive Mill: A Visit to Arizona's Tuscany
Two years ago in 2005, the Queen Creek Olive Mill looked like the industrial space it was. Now it’s a bustling showroom, cafe and al fresco dining experience. Multiple tour groups visit the Mill every day. The olive groves are poised for a heavy harvest this winter, and the Mill plans to add 2,000 trees in February.
What’s the secret behind this amazing growth?
“Our oil is really fresh, whether it’s the oil we make here ourselves or the oil we import,” says Rob Holmes, sales and marketing. “People can taste the difference.”
Add in a passion for the product, a lot of hard work and a flair for promotion and you have a local agricultural success story that owners Perry and Brenda Rea could only begin to imagine when they relocated from Michigan to Queen Creek.
“We’re very happy and thankful for the response we’ve received from Phoenix and Tucson,” says Perry. “It’s wonderful to have so much local support.”
Del Piero, a Tuscan-inspired eatery, is located at the Mill, as well as its retail operations. Diners can pick up their orders and enjoy them at one of the indoor tables or move outside to the patio and the emerging olive grove where over 90 young trees were planted outside of the mill. (The main grove which supplies the mill is a half-mile away near a wash.)
With a an antipasto platter, a glass of wine and a little imagination, the flat cotton fields of Queen Creek are beginning to look more and more like an Arizona version of Tuscany’s rolling hills.