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  Season 8 - Episode 801
 

Nan McEvoy

Nan McEvoy

Nan McEvoy

Nan McEvoy

Nan McEvoy

Nan McEvoy


  Nan McEvoy

When 82-year-old Nan McEvoy set out to buy her breathtaking Petaluma ranch in 1991 she wanted nothing more than a peaceful place where her grandchildren could gather and play. "Now a days you simply can't or I think you can't let a child sort of run free up and down the sidewalk. And I thought they should have some country life," said McEvoy. She never forgot the splendid summers she and her brother spent on their parents' ranch in Oregon.

Now there seemed to be an opportunity to replicate that idyllic lifestyle for her own family. But there was hitch; the ranch land she wanted to buy was zoned for agriculture and agriculture only. So, the socialite from the big city figured she'd plant a few olive trees and that would be that. "Once I got into it, it was so exciting and so interesting that I just kept saying more tree, more trees. Let's get some more trees," said McEvoy. No, little more than a decade later it's hard to see the grandkids for the groves. McEvoy's 550-acre ranch is the largest producer in the country of estate-grown, pressed olive oil, award-winning oil from 16 thousand organically grown trees. But would you really expect anything less than the best from the woman who's done it all?

As the granddaughter of Chronicle co-founder M.H. de Young, she refused to rest on family laurels and distinguished herself as a top reporter. Ever the independent spirit, McEvoy also spent time as a pioneering Peace Corps official and leading liberal activist. From 1981 to 1995 she was chairperson of Chronicle Publishing until the admitted black sheep of the family was ousted from the board. The time had come to trade in the printing press for the olive oil press, but before branching out into anything new, including farming, irrepressible McEvoy adheres to one credo.

"Always go to an expert of some sort before you start something new and learn from them before you go," McEvoy said. One of those experts is Italy's Maurizio Castelli. He was instrumental in importing the state-of-the art Italian press, used to crush and mill the olives. He travels to California several times a year to monitor the progress of McEvoy's operation and advise her on how to make some of the world's best olive oil. The oil has received kudos from top publications around the country, including Gourmet Magazine. To find out where you can buy this liquid gold call 707-769-4122 or visit www.mcevoyranch.com.

 
   

 

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