Story and photos by Niki D’Andrea
QCOM Marketplace has all the goods
First cultivated in the Mediterranean regions around 7,000 years ago, the humble olive has grown into a fruit of all trades – it can be eaten whole, pressed and made into olive oil, crushed into tapenades, used as garnish for cocktails and so much more. According to the International Olive Council, people around the world consumed more than 2.9 million tons of olive oil last year.
The Rea family’s lives revolve around olives. When patriarch Perry Rea planted 1,000 olive trees on the outskirts of Queen Creek in 1997, the idea was that he and his wife Brenda would make some extra-virgin olive oil. Fast forward 20 years later, and the Reas’ Queen Creek Olive Farm spans 100 acres flush with 7,000 flourishing olive trees, and they produce a plethora of olive-based products, vinegars and even health and beauty items through their Olive Spa line.
In 2012, the Reas opened the Queen Creek Olive Mill Marketplace in Kierland Commons. The store offers a bounty of goods from both Queen Creek Olive Mill and other local purveyors, including Superstition Coffee, Peanut Butter Americano, Urban Oven Crackers and a variety of Arizona wines.
Given the glut of products available on QCOM Marketplace shelves, picking a handful of the hottest items can be challenging. Nevertheless, we were up for the challenge. Here are a few frequent shopper’s highlights of Queen Creek Olive Mill Products:
Robust Extra Virgin Olive Oil: Rich and viscous, QCOM’s extra virgin olive oil has a nutty taste with slightly buttery tones, and a lightly peppery finish. Great for salads and sautéing. Other QCOM olive oil flavors include roasted garlic, Meyer lemon, bacon, blood orange and chocolate. ($11.50 for 250 ml; $18.95 for 500 ml)
Sun Baked Tomato Basil Stuffed Olives: The robust sweetness of basil blends beautifully with the earthy and bright flavor of sun-dried tomatoes in these stuffed olives. Other QCOM stuffed olive varieties include mesquite-smoked almond, Parmesan Romano, jalapeno and Mexican lime, oregano and feta, and habanero. ($10.95)
Spanish Olive Tapenade: Spanish green and tree-ripened olives combine with capers, garlic, spices and extra-virgin olive oil for this pungent and flavorful tapenade. Other QCOM tapenades include asiago Parmesan, sweet red pepper, peach and artichoke. ($9.95)
Sparkling wines: Queen Creek Olive Mill’s sparkling wines – made with California grapes – come in peach and almond varieties. The former is effervescent and sweet, while the latter boasts a subtle nuttiness that blends well with orange juice for mimosas. ($23.99)
Olive Spa French Lavender Laundry Soap: QCOM’s Olive Spa offers an entire line of soaps and balms, but this lavender-infused laundry soap is something special. It’s made with all natural ingredients and contains no detergents, chemicals or preservatives, which makes it ideal for people with allergies. And it smells heavenly. ($8.50)
Olive Spa Lavender Body Butter: A little goes a long way with this body butter. This rich cream infuses the skin with shea butter, olive oil, and essential oils for a soft fragrance and long-lasting silkiness. Also available in vanilla, orange, peppermint, Sonoran spice, eucalyptus and unscented. ($20)