Olive Potions

The 2014 milling of freshly picked green olives was just under way at the 80-acre McEvoy Ranch on a recent Friday, and Christina Cavallaro was heading home with a 375 ml bottle of the prized oil.

"There is nothing like the smell of olives being milled," says Cavallaro, who has worked with the famed Petaluma ranch for nearly a decade. "It makes you feel healthier: It’s like medicine or something."

It was this uplifting grassy aroma of the olive fruit that inspired Verde, the signature scent for a line of body care products produced by 80 Acres, cocreated by Cavallaro and Jane Steele for McEvoy Ranch. In just four years, 80 Acres’ olive oil–rich products have gone from being a whimsy—sold at a local farmers market and at the ranch’s retail shop—to being stocked by more than 300 retailers across the country and internationally.

Cavallaro says 80 Acres was truly homespun, inspired by a salve the McEvoy gardeners made from olive oil and beeswax.  

"It kind of got us thinking about olive oil as a timeless beauty treatment," says Cavallaro. "There was a real desire to take this ingredient to another level."

McEvoy Ranch was conceived by Nan McEvoy, the granddaughter of Michael DeYoung, founder of the San Francisco Chronicle. The ranch has a retail store and offers public and private tours, as well as appointment-only tastings of its estate wines. The setting, evocative of the Tuscan countryside, is stunning.

"We have this Eden, this little plot of paradise that inspires creation," Cavallaro says, ticking off the hillside lavender, a cherished cedar tree, and fragrant blood oranges that inspired the current line of body oils, butters, soaps, lotions, and balms.

And that’s never so true as when the stirring smell of crushed olives is in the air. "Olive oil is such a crazy, huge part of my life," Cavallaro says. "I can’t live without it."

A new scent, which Cavallaro wasn’t quite ready to divulge, will be on the market this year.

Purchase 80 Acres’ products or find a list of retailers at mcevoyranch.com. Also available at the San Francisco International Airport and San Francisco’s Ferry Building Marketplace.