I finally made the trip to the Graber Olive House.  I’ve been considering it for weeks now, but just never quite went in that direction.  I hesitated this morning because it was so cloudy but about 9:00 am a ray or two of sunshine appeared so I drove to Ontario.

For some reason I thought this place was large and miles south of the Ontario airport.  Instead it’s rather small and not far from Euclid and the I-10 freeway.  That’s definitely close to us.

Graber Olive House gift shop

The Main Gift Shop, with all the food items

The first thing I saw was a gift shop and I began to wonder if that’s all there was.  I had to ask about a tour.  There was no admission charge so I guess I can’t be too demanding.  Betty took me on the tour of the canning area.  I was here only tourist at that hour of the day.

Rows of bins for the olive grading machine

Part of the grading machine

I could have spent a lot of time in the canning shed but Betty wasn’t all that interested in stopping too long in one spot.  She’s 86 years old.  Perhaps standing on cold concrete isn’t her idea of fun.  And she’s seen it all before as well.

The Graber Olive House is an interesting place, tiny and family run.  The canning is automated, but it still has the feel of being people-based.  This is not a gleaming computerized operation.

Wash room where containing large circular vats in which the olives soak to remove acidity

The wash room where the olives spend 21 days to remove acidity

I did learn that the canning season is in the fall, late October and early November, and they look for local help then.  (I could get a job!)  Seriously, that would be an interesting time to visit.

I stopped by the gift shop that Betty works in.  There are two shops, one with kitchen things and the main shop with food items and gift baskets.  We chatted for quite some time about the business and retirement and families.  I moseyed on to the little museum, one tiny room, and took a couple more photos.  I loved the cash register with its big buttons and textured wood.

Large ornately carved wooden cash register

Old National Cash Register

I stopped by the main gift shop before leaving and had a chance to sample the Graber Olives.  Generally I’m not one who is all that crazy about them but this olive was something special.  The flavor was delicate and buttery.  It just goes to show what a little old- fashioned care and attention can do.


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