123 Farm is an organic farm at Highland Springs Ranch & Inn in Cherry Valley, CA, that has been established since 1854. The farm creates its own organic products, raises livestock, offers school field trips/programs, and hosts several seasonal events.
During the Fall season, they offer the Olive Festival and the Pumpkin Patch on selected weekends. The weekends this year were October 18-20 and 25-27.
The Olive Festival is an event where the farm celebrates the olive fruit and shares its health benefits. The crop of olives on the farm is harvested in October every year by staff and local volunteers. The olives are pressed the day after harvesting. The farm has over 750 olive trees that are centuries old, and during the Olive Festival, they serve and sell their own olive oil.
At the event, attendees can sample over 10 types of their farm made olive oil, such as rosemary, citrus, roasted garlic, etc., balsamic vinegar, table olives, and olive tapenade. There’s also locally made wine and cheese tasting, live music, farm tours, games, workshops, and community olive picking.
The event offered wine and cheese tasting featuring 20 different types of artisanal cheeses and 30 types of wine from local wineries. Attendees can choose any cheese or dry-cured meats to have on their charcuterie board, which comes with grapes, crackers, fig jam, and mustard. The cheese options offered are quite varied, and range from unique cheddars and goat cheeses to “Beehive Coffee and Lavender” cheese.
“This is my first time going to a wine and cheese tasting,” said Esme Gonzales, a resident of San Bernardino, “I’ve honestly never seen such interesting cheeses that are actually tasty. I don’t even like goat cheese, but I might have changed that today. It’s actually really creamy and an acquired taste.”
A ticket system is used for the wine tasting, and the large variety of wines come from 10 wineries located in California, many of them in the Inland Empire. “I’m not a wine person, but when paired with the cheese it’s amazing”, said Wilson (Will) Hubbard, a resident of Cherry Valley.
The event offered several meals including wine and cheese. They offer a Mediterranean menu, such as gyros, naan, Greek salads, tapas, sausages, and desserts. The food at the event was prepared on-site by The Grand Oak Farm and the event team. Quite a few ingredients of the meals are from 123 Farm and other local organic farms.
Within the event are olive pressing talks, and workshops where attendees can view demonstrations on how the olives are pressed to produce their olive oil. During the olive pressing talk, they talked about how to grow your own healthy olive trees and other plants. They passed around raw forms of their produce, and attendees got to physically interact with it using their senses (smell, touch, etc.). Then they discussed the health benefits of everything they grow and included that they feed olive leaves to their livestock to give them essential nutrients. They also offer cooking demonstrations and lessons on olive curing. The workshops offered include lip balm making, olive wreath making, and harvesting and infusing olive oils. “It’s pretty impressive that you can do so much with olives and olive oil”, says Linda Carloto from Beaumont, “I think the best part of being here is just escaping your every day, and learning new things in a hands-on way.”
If you’re a fan of trying new things and the great outdoors, the 123 Farm Olive Festival would be an ideal break from the norm for you!