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Ag Spotlight: The Groves on 41

Ag Spotlight: The Groves on 41

Meet Karen and Jennifer Tallent of The Groves on 41

Mother-daughter duo Karen and Jennifer Tallent own and run The Groves on 41, a working olive farm and beautiful event space off of Highway 41 in Templeton. 

Mom Karen moved to the Central Coast from LA in 2010 looking for a slower, more meaningful way of life.

"I didn’t grow up with olive oil; it wasn’t something I was very interested in," Karen said. "When we were looking at property, the real estate agent asked if we would want to take a look at an olive oil farm and I kind of laughed, saying, ‘Oh, no thank you, but eventually we thought ‘why not? There’s something about getting your hands dirty and working in soil that us city kids find very attractive.’"

Daughter Jennifer followed soon after in 2013 to help her mom on the farm and with events. 

"And the way I joke with the kids at our agricultural lessons is I say, ‘It’s like you’re always doing chores for your mom,'" she said. "But it’s a bigger reward because there’s an opportunity for me to learn but also to share what we do."

So how does olive oil get made? In four main steps, according to Karen Tallent, owner of The Groves on 41.

"We only have an annual harvest and it’s generally sometime before Thanksgiving," she said. "We take the harvested olives to a mill, where they get pummeled into a paste, and then that paste goes into a malaxer to relax and churn. The oil—which comes from the skin, the pit, and the meat of the olives—will rise to the surface. And then there is the centrifuge process, where the oil gets spun off the water, which is the freshest olive oil you can get."

From there, the olive oil has to be bottled and stored at a constant temperature of 64 degrees before it can be distributed and sold.

"Freshness is incredibly important with olive oil, just as it is for produce, meats, or dairy—the more fresh it is, the better it is for you," she said.

The Groves on 41 sells its premium, locally grown oil at its property on Highway 41 in Templeton and at farmers markets throughout San Luis Obispo County. You can also do an olive oil tasting at the farm!

“For people who have never tasted olive oil, it is always an experience because the notion of having oil on its own can be quite strange,” Karen said. “It’s usually the travel groups from the Midwest and East Coast that come in saying, ‘Oh, I’m not drinking olive oil,’ but then they end up thoroughly enjoying it. 

Seeing people enjoy the fruits of their labor makes everything worth it for both mother and daughter. So what’s their favorite part of owning and running a farm?

Karen said, "Harvest is pretty exciting because you get to experience a year’s worth of work culminating into one day. And then tasting the olive oil right after being milled, you begin to wonder, ‘Hmm… What competitions should we enter this time?’

And Jennifer agrees: "I would have to agree that harvest is one of the most fun and rewarding experiences because that’s when you get to see all the hard work really come through."

This blog was created in partnership with Living Lavishly Magazine and writer Charlotte Ross.

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