For centuries, the landscape surrounding and including the nearly 15,000 -acre La Panza Ranch, located in the picturesque San Juan Creek Valley, California, has remained relatively unchanged. The rugged La Panza Mountains rise to the west and the rolling hills of the Carrisa Plains extend to the east. Today, the sprawling former cattle ranch farms alfalfa and grain hay, wine grapes, and, on 251 acres, the olives that go into our award-winning extra virgin olive oils.
Thanks to its size, geographic diversity, and the fact that it’s remained intact, the ranch is a haven to a wide variety of California wildlife. Deer, wild boar, bear, and the occasional mountain lion roam throughout the property. Even Tule elk find their way to the ranch’s water troughs. Honeybees flock to the indigenous wildflowers that blanket the property, including wild buckwheat, blue curl, and sage.
The ranch’s more storied history includes ownership by Drury James, uncle of famous outlaw brothers Frank and Jesse James. They reportedly spent time in the late 1860s working as cowhands on the ranch, while avoiding capture by lawmen. That heritage is behind the name of our most robust olive oil, Outlaw Blend.
Throughout the years, the ranch was operated by various cattle partnerships and individuals. The Cowell Foundation owned it for 55 years. The family’s patriarch, Henry Cowell, had extensive holdings in San Francisco as well as several ranches throughout California. In 1996, La Panza Ranch was sold to Robert Petersen of Petersen Publishing in Los Angeles. He used the ranch for hunting and entertaining his race car driver friends and other celebrities.
Then in 2003, Mike Leprino spotted the potential of La Panza Ranch’s acres of mountains, drainages, farmland, and favorable climate, so he and his daughters purchased it and set out on a years-long quest to produce the freshest extra virgin olive oil in California, if not the world.
Try it, the freshness is guaranteed!