Sunday, January 20, 2013

Salad Sprouts? What to do?

We took a field trip today--literally! We decided to investigate where those salad sprouts came from that were included in this week's tote box. The label was from Mt Olive Organic Farm in Adelaida, so this morning we had some breakfast and headed out in search of the sprout farm.

I put most of my photos from this little adventure on my Facebook page because its' easier to arrange them for viewing in that format. So here is the public link:

I also have included a link to the Mt. Olive website on my Facebook album, but if that doesn't work for you, here it is again:

I mapped the route to Mt. Olive on my cell phone's mapping program, but I thought I knew basically where it was. Pretty close to Paso Robles High School off of Nacimiento Lake Road. Since we were driving over from the Coast, we took Old Creek Road in Cayucos and followed Hwy. 46 into Paso. A quick jaunt up to 24th Street, and we headed out to Adelaida. Only thing is, we drove all the way out to the turn off for Nacimiento Lake, and next thing I knew, we were on Chimney Rock Road. I was a little off in my bearings because I used to always drive out this way via Vineyard Drive from Templeton. GPS doesn't work out here, either! We had definately gone to far, but we were near the Adelaida School House, so we would hook up with the right road eventually. Oh well, we took the scenic route! I showed Lee the McGillvary house and the walnut ranch where my sister-in-law's grandparents had lived.

Once we got onto Adelaida Road, we were heading back towards Paso Robles. The farm ended up being almost at the end of the road near town, so we had made a huge loop for naught. The farm is less than a mile from the old Resthaven Mobile Home Park where we used to go swimming at their public pool as kids.

We pulled up the driveway by the walnut grove and parked in the ample parking lot. The Tasting Room was a pretty impressively large building. The gift shop and tasting rooms only take up a small portion of the building. There is a large patio area in the front with many tables to handle large tour groups for lunch. We could see a large greenhouse and about an acre of fields, portions partially covered with sunscreens, with greens growing in them. Our priorities were: olive tasting, lunch, then exploration.

The front gift shop area features tables set up for sampling their dried fruits, jams and candy nougats. The restaurant menu is displayed on the wall and a kitchen is located in the back. The tasting room ajoins the gift shop and what a great setup it is! There are basically six or seven stations displaying the products with little sampling bowls in front. A bowl of cubed bread and some toothpicks are provided so you can scoop a small taste onto the bread and try each product out. We tried all the tapenades first: olives with walnuts, olives with balsamic vinegar, olives with many choices! Why not taste them all?

As you move around the rooms, there are bruschettas, salad dressings, flavored olive oils, dipping oils, vinegars and olive stations.  A little bite of bread with each one, and that's a hearty appetizer! Better save room for lunch. We finished our tasting and selected a few products to take home after looking through the refrigerator case, as well. I wonder if our kale from the tote came from here also? I questioned the clerk about the salad sprouts. She said they are "pre-sprouted" and people eat them raw on salads, or cook them and add to dishes. Oh! I thought I might have to sprout them in a jar or something. I guess growing sprouts, like alfalfa sprouts, is something else. I did learn that sprouts are concentrated little packages of nutrients and vitamins that are so good for you! I thought they were too bitter to eat raw, so I will probably make a nice soup with the ones from the tote. One thing we will be purchasing from Mt. Olive in the future is their soy sauce. It's $8 for a half gallon jug! I had just bought a large container of Kikkoman soy sauce from the store, otherwise I would have gotten that today. I will have to research using soybean oil, as well. Mt. Olive offers a gallon for $11.

Then we ordered lunch.The menu featured chili, soups, salads, Oriental dishes such as potstickers, Pad Thai, spaghetti and meatballs and sandwiches. It was still a chilly morning (we saw lots of ice along the roadside heading over Hwy. 46), so we selected a bowl of chili and a chicken salad. Beverage offerings included a variety of fruit and vegetable juices. My hubby decided on a peppermint tea while I played it safe and had the delicious organic apple juice. Apple juice and filtered water, that's all it contains, and it was sweet, flavorful and satisfying!

I'm glad we decided to split the meal, because the portions were really large. No way could I have eaten that whole salad by myself! There were several types of lettuce on the bottom, piled high with mung bean sprouts, alfalfa sprouts, carrots, and I think it was radish sprouts, or maybe pea sprouts or both! It included stir-fried chicken and some sugared walnuts that were delictable! The menu is so misleading as it just says "chicken salad". It should say the most fresh and delicious chicken salad, ever! You can even pick from their assortment of salad dressings, and I think the Peach-Balsamic one we had was perfect. The chili had a nice, rich flavor which reminded me of the chili my grandpa used to make using Gephardt's chili powder and cumin. The bakery-fresh sourdough bread was a perfect accompaniment, and Lee and I finished the whole bowl and ate the whole salad down to the last walnut chunk.

We went outside and wandered through the greenhouse and fields around the tasting room. Swiss chard and kale was growing everywhere, even in the decorative planters. Several young men were working out there, spreading out sun shades and running water lines. We checked out the olive grove and the petting zoo. A duck was having a bath in the water dish and the billy goat hopped onto the roof of a chicken house and had a nap. School field trips would get a lot of laughs from these characters, for sure. We left, saying to each other, we need to tell people about this place!


  1. What a fun time you both must have had on your field trip. I have yet to travel up to Mt. Olive Farm, but am more curious than ever after reading this article. Your lunch looked terrific! I noticed the picture that included the juice. We placed the fresh apple juice in our box a few week's ago prior to your signing up. I think it's about time to add it again! Have a great week, I look forward to reading your future blogs. In great health, Rachael

  2. Thanks, Rachael! The apple juice was sweet and refreshing, so I wouldn't mind getting some more of it soon! The whole concept of that farm was just amazing, by the way.