The Makela Family

Makela family olive farmers

Our raw and organic Eight Fruit Olive Oil and organic olives are created for you by the Makela family. They arrived in California in 1778. Decades later, in 1855, their Great, Great Grandfather, Jules Goux, planted the first commercial olive grove. Today, the tradition continues with the tenth generation who are still growing organic olives on their family’s fertile land and making a magnificent olive oil.

Working with wife Cindy, the Makela’s starting packing olives in their garage in 1982. Buying olives from west coast suppliers, they created the well-known Santa Barbara Olive Company brand.

In 1990 they purchased their own 17 acres ranch, and soon after began the organic certification process. “It wasn’t an epiphany at the time, I just grew up a surfer and I stopped eating meat. It just seemed like the healthy natural thing to do. It was simpler not to use a lot of pesticides and fertilizers, Makela said. “Olives don’t have many issues with pests and the ones we do have are easily controlled with organic materials.”

Over the years the husband and wife duo built the Santa Barbara Olive Company Brand into the nation’s number one selling specialty olive brand. In 2009, they sold the brand to the Krinos Greek Olive Company, which continues to use the mark on Greek and Spanish Olives repacked in the states.

They sold the brand but never sold their land. It was their son Chad who brought up the concept of offering both organic and conventionally US grown olives as a way to differentiate the company.