The owner of McCauley Brothers Olive Groves said the idea of opening a retail store seemed obvious, since his company makes and bottles its own olive oil on site at its Brentwood ranch. But he wanted to expand the concept and offer other local farmers space in the store to showcase their products and get their name out to the public.
“The most important thing is promoting local farms,” McCauley said. “All of the products sold here come from Northern California, including the Brentwood, Knightsen and Byron area. We’ve got about five or six local farms represented now, and that number will only get bigger.”
McCauley said he’d been thinking about opening the store for several years, and the more the idea tugged at him, the more he realized Brentwood needed a place where the public could get easy access to locally grown products all year round. He opened the store under the name Brentwood Choice Farms in July at a grand reception of nearly 500 guests, but changed the name to McCauley Brothers Olive Groves, as that’s the name that appears in the Harvest Time directory.
McCauley hopes the store will help promote local farms as well as keep Brentwood’s agricultural heritage alive. “Not only are customers getting the freshest, most pure products from the farm to the table; they are also helping to support and sustain local commerce by spending their dollars locally,” he said.
“We have to support our local farmers or they will disappear, as we’ve seen in areas such as Antioch. Brentwood is growing, but we don’t want to lose our agricultural roots. That’s why people come to Brentwood – to get a taste of that local agricultural history, and it’s important to hold on to our history so that the next generations can enjoy it.”
McCauley Brothers Olive Groves offers customers a variety of local treasures. While it’s known for an array of olive oils, jarred olives, spicy beans, and pepper spreads, the store also features pies, honeys, dried fruits and nuts, and sauces from other local companies.
McCauley also provided a tasting station to local chef-for-hire Neil Ruggiero, who showcases his Italian cuisine on select Fridays each month. Ruggiero is also a big supporter of local agriculture, cooks with fruits and vegetables from local farms whenever possible, and uses McCauley olive oils in his cooking and salad dressings.
McCauley said the other advantage of buying local products is that customers are guaranteed the freshest products around.
“You won’t find anything fresher than local produce,” McCauley said. “Why would you buy fruit from the grocery story when you can buy something that was grown just down the street? I understand it is more convenient to go to the grocery store since people are in such a rush these days, but you can taste the difference between something you get at the store compared to something from the farm stand. The difference in the flavors creates a completely different dining experience. Plus, it’s affordable and, again, you’re supporting local business.”
The McCauley produce stand, featuring foods from Byron-based Lon’s Farm Stand, is closed for the fall and winter but will be stocked with fresh fruits and vegetables by next May, when produce is in season. In the meantime, customers can enjoy other products, from Brentwood’s Miss Bee Haven Honey, Ripon-based The Pie Company, and sauces and marinades from Primo’s Gourmet Food Company, based in Tracy.
McCauley Brothers Olive Groves, located at 300 Balfour Road in Brentwood, is open from 10:30 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. Wednesday through Saturday. For more information, call 925-754-6457 or visit www.mccauleyolivegroves.com.