Mt. Olive Organic Farm: A Treasured Family Farm in Paso Robles
“We are happy farmers, and they are happy plants.” If you ask farmer Karen Ng, that is the secret to the success of Mt. Olive Organic Farm, which she runs with her family on California’s Central Coast. Vineyards stretch almost as far as the eye can see in the heart of Paso Robles wine country. Nestled between these vineyards is this cheery family farm that grows a dizzying variety of produce. The list includes herbs, sprouts, leafy greens, and tree fruit grown on over 700 acres. Mt. Olive Organic farm is worth a visit on your next San Luis Obispo County trip.
A Day At Mt. Olive Organic Farm
We recently visited Mt. Olive Organic Farm to learn about its history, what they grow, and the experiences you can have when you visit in real life. The farm is just a few miles west of Paso Robles town on Adelaida Road. The location is central, making it easy to decide to see it on a whim. It is a great stop between wine tastings at nearby Paso Robles wineries like Halter Ranch, Tablas Creek, and DAOU.
Get To Know Agriculture In Paso Robles
These days, Paso Robles is known as one of California’s premiere wine regions. But wine grapes are just one piece of the agricultural puzzle.
Across San Luis Obispo County, strawberries, wine grapes, avocados, broccoli, and cauliflower are the most commonly planted crops. In the past, the area around Paso Robles grew a lot of tree nuts – walnuts and almonds, in particular. Given this history, it’s no surprise that Mt. Olive was a walnut orchard in a former life.
The Concept Of Mt. Olive Organic Farm
The story of Mt. Olive started three decades ago when Karen’s grandfather conceived of the farm. He dreamt of a balanced farm where the land could be cultivated harmoniously with nature, preserving its beauty and resources for future generations. The idea was to farm in a way that leaves things to coexist. This goal resulted in a farm rooted in permaculture and sustainability.
The Early Years Of Mt. Olive Organic
The farm was previously a walnut orchard, so it took hard work to transition it into the diverse operation it is today. There was a lot of trial and error along the way. That is why you’ll see some orchards planted nontraditionally, but where the fruit is phenomenal. The Ng family started the farm by planting olive trees, which continue to be the centerpiece of the operation. Their unfiltered extra virgin olive oil has gained recognition as one of the best olive oils in the world at the NYIOOC World Olive Oil competition. When you visit, try their unfiltered organic olive oil. Also try their products handmade on-site, such as olive tapenades, stuffed olives, olive bread, vinaigrettes, and unfiltered olive oil.
A Diverse Array Of Crops
Over the years, the farm became known for its high-quality organic sprouts, including alfalfa, bean, broccoli, fenugreek, radish, and wheatgrass. The family grows all their sprouts in a climate-controlled sprout house to achieve year-round production. But Mt. Olive Farm boasts an impressive assortment of crops, reflecting the richness of the California soil. In their greenhouses, leafy greens, ranging from chard to sorrel, thrive. They are also one of the only farms in the area to grow Asian produce such as bok choy, shiso, mitsuba, and mizuna. The orchards bear fruits such as apples, apricots, cherries, figs, pears, peaches, and plums from June to October. As autumn approaches, the family focuses on the harvest of Fuji apples, persimmons, pomegranates, and various winter squash, including Kabocha and Butternut.
The farm is certified organic, and the Ng family is focused on sustainable practices. Some measures they implement include diversified farming, solar panels, vermiculture, composting, and raising their animals without antibiotics or hormones. Karen credits their high-quality soil (thanks to the vermiculture!) with producing fruit and vegetables that are nutritious and exceptionally flavorful.
A Family Affair
The vision for Mt. Olive Organic Farm is to work as a family to ensure the farm continues as a family farm for years to come. At the helm of Mt. Olive Organic Farm is Karen. Karen is a visionary steward who has worked tirelessly with her husband, Reiner, to bring her grandfather’s vision to life. While there, we also met Ephraim, Eunice, LuAnne, and Olivia. Each is one of a large group of family members who help run the family business. Ephraim and his cousin, Sean, farm the fields. Eunice manages the on-site store and Olivia interfaces with the local restaurants. LuAnne helps wherever help is needed. James, who were not able to meet, heads up the family’s farmers’ market stands.
Mt. Olive Organic Farm’s journey is a testament to the dedication of the entire family, with each member contributing their unique skills and expertise. They are preserving their grandfather’s legacy and laying the groundwork for a thriving future. As the farm continues to evolve, it remains rooted in the principles of responsible stewardship that have defined its history.
Over the years, Mt. Olive Organic Farm has become integral to the local culinary community. They regularly participate in farmers’ markets across the region from San Luis Obispo to Ojai. They have also forged connections with local restaurants, gaining recognition for their high-quality produce.
Fans of the farm eagerly embrace the garlic, savoring its bold flavor, and the farm’s spring mix – a medley of leafy greens – graces the plates of the area’s most celebrated culinary hotspots, including In Bloom.
Visit Mt. Olive’s Produce For Yourself
To get a taste of Mt. Olive Organic Farm’s produce, you can visit a local farmers market, eat at restaurants like In Bloom, do a farm visit, or shop at their online store. Visit their stalls at regional farmers markets, including Templeton, Cambria, Baywood/Los Osos, San Luis Obispo, Ojai, or Santa
Barbara. Otherwise, plan a farm visit, which is available on the weekends. During a visit, you can explore the garden, tour the worm beds, enjoy the petting zoo, or shop at the farm store and tasting room. Consider also doing an olive platter tasting to try their house-made olive oils, tapenades, and olives.
Have A Paso Robles Agritourism Adventure
Couple a visit to Mt. Olive Organic Farm with wine tasting and exploration throughout the Paso Robles area. Be sure also to check out these twelve things to do for food lovers in Paso Robles so that you can round out your Central Coast agritourism experience!
3445 Adelaida Rd, Paso Robles, CA 93446
Open Saturday and Sunday 11 AM – 5 PM