In September, I visited Arizona for the first time, spending three days in Mesa and three days in Phoenix, with a few brief stops in the Scottsdale area. In between some fabulous restaurants, I attended a tour and tasting at the Queen Creek Olive Mill as a guest of Visit Mesa, which was easily one of the highlights of the trip (beside sitting by the pool at The Wigwam, but we’ve already talked about that. At Queek Creek Olive Mill, you can tour, taste and shop to your heart’s content, learn about how olive oil is produced and tasting it in its purest form — plus in some of the most unique flavors you’ll ever experience.
Queen Creek is owned by a husband and wife team, the former a child to first generation Italian immigrants. Going into the project with the intention of producing olive oil solely as a hobby, they planed 1,000 olive trees on 100 acres in the city of Queen Creek. With an eventual goal of providing the Arizona community with fresh, local, Extra Virgin Olive Oil, they later built a 5,000 square foot shed that soon transformed into today’s sprawling Queen Creek Olive Mill, Cafe and Marketplace.
The working olive mill offers tours and tastings for anyone who wants to learn more about how one of the most ubiquitous ingredients in so many much-loved recipes is made. Tours are informative and educational, where you’ll learn all about all the amazing qualities of extra virgin olive oil, qualities and standards of olive oil, health benefits, use ideas & why it’s important to buy your olive oil locally, or from an independent purveyor who puts as much care and passion into their craft as they do at Queen Creek.
The Italian inspired eatery features old world family recipes, made with local and garden-sourced ingredients that complement the extra virgin olive oil. Hearty breakfast offerings include eggs benedict and vanilla bean olive oil waffles. The lunch menu features sandwiches, panini, soups and salads and dinner on Friday & Saturday evenings offers Arizona artisan style pizzas & specialty house-made pastas along with other delicious offerings. At any time of day, you can enjoy a pitcher of house-made sangria or a carafe of wine with your meal.
My favorite part of the entire Queen Creek experience was easily the gourmet marketplace, which offered one of the most fun and unique variety of olive oils that I’ve ever experienced, including fresh basil, Meyer lemon and vegan bacon (I don’t even know how this is possible, nor do I need to know. I just need to continue using it to scramble my eggs).
In addition to its signature products, The Marketplace at Queen Creek stocks products from other local vendors who share the same passion in their own craft. Superstition Coffee, Valley Honey Co., Cerreta Candy Company and Mediterra Bakehouse offer a unique list of direct import wines, specialty cheeses, imported Italian ceramics from Tuscany and hand thrown dishware. What that means, in short, is that I wanted to buy everything I saw, but I didn’t bring an extra suitcase along so sadly, my options were limited to what I could carry home.
For more information, visit Queen Creek Olive Mill online or at 25062 S Meridian Rd, Queen Creek, AZ. (480) 888-9290