The Katz Farm


Time passes quickly even if life goes by slowly.

Whether you plant the seed, literally or figuratively, it seems it takes forever to grow and then like overnight, like magic, everything blossoms and your feet are up as you rest and wonder how it all happened like it was yesterday. 

We make choices to do as much as we can in the perceived limited time, or not. Some make choices to allow more of the things we want to happen happen, and not worry about anything else. 

It seems like just a short time ago that we first tasted Albert and Kim’s Chef’s Pick Olive Oil. It was a revelation! From Napa, California – with amazing flavors, Tuscan, or at least Italian in blend, it was exciting! 

Over years of harvests, the trees cycled through the normal process of maturation, some years good, some not as good, bitter, mellow, notes of artichoke, and grassy. Yet never once was one year not splendid with vivacious personality that said I am here, deal with me! 

And then Rock Hill Olive Oil came into our lives. More bitter, more sharp, gutsy if you will. Not shy in any way! It wasn’t for everyone, it was all about taking the very best punch you can get from an olive and putting it in a bottle! It was all about Albert saying, love it or leave it, I don’t care, this is what I want. And people wanted it! Not in droves, but in a faithful anticipation every-year-following kind of way. 

It was an oil that made you really think of how you are going to enjoy it. When you found its home in your culinary mouth, you were happy. 

We learned a boatload about olives from Albert: the trees, the weather, water and more. We learned that having chickens run around your trees made the earth better for the olives and really happy big chickens. 

And we learned that olive trees take years to produce a lot of oil… and that as they mature, they change in how they present themselves in flavor. 

And that being a farmer is stressful, hard, difficult, unpredictable, harsh, unexpected. And like a child, also rewarding for moments at a time, worthwhile, and can bring you amazing satisfaction and emotional highs. 

Albert and I became good friends over the last 20 or so years. Over long conversations, mostly on the phone, we didn’t just talk olives, we talked the state of the world, the weather and anything else we could think of. Of course we debated what the olive oil tasted like. What it tasted like to me, or to him, sometimes not jiving, sometimes in sync. 

Sometimes the conversations we had, had a little more vinegar than olive oil… yet always good! 

The olive oils disappeared from the shelves a couple of years back, as the weather and drought, along with the fires, limited the production to barely enough to supply Chez Panisse and a few others. 

And let’s face it, no matter what you farm, farming is tough work, producing jams and honey is tough too. And as one’s priorities change, one’s passion shifts as the hurdles get bigger. 

Albert and Kim are retiring from making their wonderful foods that we have been so lucky to have in our lives. 

We still have some of the vinegars and we are hoping that these will continue on… but we are also aware that they may too disappear. 

They are included in this newsletter. We love all these vinegars. Each and every one has a reason to exist. 

We are sad and selfishly sorry to see these amazing ingredients go, and yet happy and pleased that Albert and Kim will be able to do the next great thing!