CRESTON — It has been a rough month for Olivas de Oro owners Marti and Frank Menacho.
After learning their olive oil tasting room and everything they had from the 2017 harvest went up in flames on June 15, no one would have blamed them for moping around a bit.
Instead, the Menachos are forging ahead and doing what they can to salvage this year thanks to a lot of help from North County wineries, fellow olive oil producers and from people that they have known since starting their business 19 years ago.
“The really cool thing, there is always a silver lining right,” said Marti, as she looked out over the blackened rubble and ash that was once the facility’s tasting room. “The silver lining is the community around us has just been amazing. Not just the local community, but the community of people that have been our loyal customers for 19 years.”
Less than 60 days after the blaze, Olivas de Oro is hosting a “Raise the Roof” event from 4 to 8 p.m. on July 28, at their pressing facility, 4625 La Panza Rd.
There will be food, music and, of course Olivas De Oro olive oil, available to purchase.
“We bought some olive oil from some people that we milled for,” Marti said.
Before coming to Creston, the Menachos were in Northern California so they contacted “two of the millers we used up there, who did the same technique as us, using real olives and real lemons as opposed to just putting in flavorings. And they had oils that we could purchase as well. In a way it is kind of like our community oil for the rest of the year.”
Olivas de Oro is part of the Creston Wine Trail and received plenty of support from its members in the wake of the fire. Jerry and Patricia Bello, owners of B&E Vineyard, is allowing the Menachos to set up new bottling equipment at their place.
“B&E vineyard right down the street, they built a new facility and had room in the old facility, so we are setting up our bottling and we need conditioned storage, it’s all in their warehouse and their winery,” Marti said. “Otherwise, who has enough space for our stuff. They didn’t have to do that (help), nobody had to do any of this.”
Marti said the help has come from nearly everywhere and everyone.
“We’ve had people volunteer to help us clean,” Marti said. “We’ve had people in our club that have construction companies asking how they can help. We had somebody from our club send us money. Had other club members say can I buy my oil for next year.
“It makes you feel good,” she said.
The burned building, guest house and pressing facility were less than 100 yards apart on the Menachos Creston property. Of course, the Menachos are grateful the fire was contained to only the tasting room and bottling area, and that no person or animal was injured. The burned building was scheduled to be torn down the week of June 16, Marti said, adding she did not know when a new tasting room would be open on the property.
The Menachos were in Spain at the time of the fire. Their trip was winding down. The couple was on a culinary tour and getting ready to head to the coast of Spain.
Marti said while away they got a call from someone staying at their guest house at about 7:30 a.m. Saturday Spain time.
“The guy is saying, ‘Your building is on fire! Your building is on fire!’,” Marti recalls. “I was just like ‘oh my god are you kidding’ and then you kind of know, unless this person is a super good actor, and this is the biggest scam ever, that this really is real.”
Later that night the Menachos were on a flight heading home.
“You have that feeling of coming home to what,” Marti said. “Not knowing what we were coming home to. I got pictures that were sent to me, but seeing it in person is just completely different.”
Once on the ground, the Menachos saw it was all gone — “our tasting room, all of our bottling, our bulk storage, all of our shipping, all of our case goods storage,” Marti said. “
The fire department was notified of the fire by a passing motorist, who could see the flames and smoke from La Panza Road.
Making it even worse was the fact that 2017 was the Menachos’ largest harvest ever. The next harvest will begin in October.
“No olive oil until then from us,” Marti said. “We won’t have anything until after the first of the year.”
In the meantime, the Menachos are planning to make the most of a bad situation and have popups until they get back on their feet, choosing to concentrate on that silver lining.
“You always here about it, but are never part of it,” Marti said. “Not everything is a bad thing. There are good things that I think people forget about.”
For more information, call Olivas de Oro at 805-227-4223 or visit www.olivasdeoro.com.