Before realizing its edibility, farmers extracted the oil from olives in order to slick up engine parts and cover floors for extreme Twister tournaments. Bust a delicious move with today's Groupon: for $18, you get an olive-mill tour package for two at Queen Creek Olive Mill (up to a $38.50 total value with tax). The package includes:
- One 30-minute Olive Oil 101 Tour for two, with tastings (a $5 value each)
- Two sandwiches (up to a $9.99 value each)
- Two bottled sodas (a $2.59 value each)
Nestled at the base of the San Tan Mountains, Queen Creek Olive Mill hosts groves speckled with more than 16 olive varieties, which make up batches of extra-virgin oil, tapenades, and other edibles. During a comprehensive 30-minute tour, small groups stroll through the groves and learn about the history of the farm, the mill, and the problem with doves constantly stealing branches. Afterward, visitors taste oils—pressed within 24 hours of harvest—and sample stuffed olives and tapenades, all made on the premises. Duos then kick back on an airy outdoor patio and feast on Tuscan-inspired grub at del Piero, which boasts a menu of freshly constructed sandwiches. Sourced from a family recipe, the kalamata sandwich bursts with italian salami, del Piero's kalamata salami, capicola, herb-roasted tomatoes, greens, provolone, and an herb balsamic on a grilled baguette. While reliving tour highlights, diners can wash down eats with bottled soda or lubricating sips of olive oil. The café also offers a variety of wines by the glass and an assortment of beers, bottled and on tap, all available for an additional cost.
Queen Creek Olive Mill
Comfortably nestled in the shadows of the San Tan Mountains, owner Perry Rea and his family coax silken oils out of the olives they grow in their own groves. After more than 10 years of experiments, they finally settled on planting a few more than 16 distinct varietals, which thrive in the otherwise unforgiving Arizona deserts. Extending thoughtful care to each harvest, they avoid using any pesticides or genetically modified trees, employ water-conserving drip irrigation, and hand-pluck their olives at the peak of ripeness. Within 24 hours of picking, the staff then presses the crop in order to extract oils that taste as fresh as honey taken directly from a bee's pantry.
The fresh oils line the shelves of the mill's marketplace alongside imported wines and locally made goods. In addition to gourmet food items, the store stocks an extensive collection of Italian ceramics, works by local painters, and bath-and-body products infused with extra-virgin olive oil.
Queen Creek Olive Mill's oils also appear on the menu of del Piero, the facility's Tuscan-inspired bistro. Based on the Rea family's own recipes, each entree incorporates organic ingredients whenever possible, including locally sourced meats and herbs from the organic garden.