Oliver Farm Artisan Oils

Pitts, Georgia

From deep-frying to a drizzle on salad, oil is a critical component in cooking. We are all familiar with the beautiful flavor found in olive oil, but there’s a world to explore beyond standard EVOO. In this episode of tasteMAKERS, you’re going to meet Clay Oliver. His artisan oils have become one of the South’s most sought-out ingredients.

Oliver Farm Artisan Oils | Pitts, Georgia

Okra seed oil is a revelation. It tastes just like okra, which kind of surprised me when I first tasted it. I don’t know what I was expecting, but the oil is truly the essence of okra. The oil from all those tiny seeds amplifies the fruit’s gentle, grassy flavor, making it more concentrated, more alive. All of Clay Oliver’s oils have that vibrant quality. They all taste like what they’re made from, but MORE. They have a deep intensity that only high-quality cold-pressed oils possess.

Clay grew up on his family’s farm raising cotton and other row crops like most of his neighbors. Then, the recession hit and he began looking for new revenue opportunities, thinking that maybe he could jump on the biodiesel bandwagon. He planted a field of sunflowers, harvested the seeds and pressed them to extract the oil. You’ll have to watch the episode to hear the full story, but that initial interest in biodiesel led to Clay deciding that there was no way he’d let that oil become fuel. It was too delicious. And so began his culinary journey, which has led him across the country, winning awards from the Good Food Foundation and Garden & Gun, hanging out with Alice Waters and becoming connected with some of the country’s most respected chefs.

Clay and his wife Valerie are the force behind this artisan company, which is run from a small building on the family farm. They grow and harvest their own sunflower seeds and source peanuts, pecans, sesame seeds, okra seeds and other raw ingredients from other farmers. All they do is take the raw seeds or nuts and run them through a screw press, capturing the oil and putting it in a bottle. That’s it. Cold-pressed and unrefined oils retain all the beneficial nutrients found in the whole seed or nut. Adding heat to the extraction process could produce more oil, but what’s sacrificed is flavor and nutrition, so that’s out of the question for Clay.

As the seeds and nuts are pressed, the byproduct of the process is all of the solid matter, which is expelled as long, skinny tubes. Rather than tossing the byproduct into a landfill or feeding it to livestock, Clay and Valerie grind it into gluten-free flours. Yes. Pecan flour, pumpkin-seed flour, peanut flour … even sesame-seed flour. Clay’s recipe for pecan-flour brownies is below. Bake a batch for yourself and you’ll want to send him a thank you note.

Pecan Flour Brownie

Makes about 36 brownies

1 cup butter
1 1/2 cups sugar
2 tsp vanilla extract
4 room temperature eggs
1/4 cup cocoa (optional)
1 cup Oliver Farm pecan flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt

| Preparation | Heat oven to 350 degrees and grease a 13-by-9-by-2 baking pan. Place sugar and vanilla into a mixing bowl. Melt butter and pour into the bowl and mix thoroughly. Add eggs one at a time, beating well with a spoon after each addition. Add cocoa if desired and beat until blended. Add flour, baking powder and salt mixing well. Stir in nuts if desired and pour batter into prepared pan. Bake for 30 to 35 minutes or until brownies begin to pull away from the sides of pan. Cool completely before cutting.

Raspberry-Balsamic Vinaigrette

1 cup Oliver Farm Sunflower Oil
1/4 red wine vinegar
1/4 cup balsamic vinegar 
3 to 4 Tbsp raspberry jam or preserves
1 tsp onion powder
1 tsp sea salt

| Preparation | Process all ingredients in the blender on high for 2 minutes. Store in refrigerator and shake well before using.

Courtesy of Oliver Farm

Tuscan Garlic Chicken

1 1/2 pounds boneless chicken breast
2 Tbsp of Oliver Farm Infused Sunflower Oil
1 cup heavy cream
1/2 cup chicken broth
1 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp Italian seasoning 
1 cup parmesan cheese
1 cup spinach
1 whole tomato, diced

| Preparation | Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

In a large skillet over medium heat, add Oliver Farm Infused Sunflower Oil. Add chicken to pan and brown on each side just until no longer pink in the center. Remove chicken and set aside.

Add the heavy cream, chicken broth, garlic powder, Italian seasoning , and parmesan cheese to the skillet.  Whisk over medium heat until it starts to thicken. Add the spinach and let simmer until the spinach starts to wilt.  

Add the chicken to a baking dish and pour cream-spinach mixture over top.  Scatter the tomatoes on top and sprinkle with parmesan cheese and bake until tomatoes start to soften and the cream bubbles.  

Serve over your choice of pasta or with rice.

Baked Asparagus

Oliver Farm Infused Sunflower Oil
Garlic salt
Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
Grated parmesan cheese

| Preparation | Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Trim woody ends off of a bunch of fresh asparagus. Toss in Oliver Farm Infused Sunflower Oil on a baking sheet. Sprinkle with garlic salt, salt, and freshly ground pepper. Top with fresh grated parmesan cheese and bake for 20 minutes.

Courtesy of Karla and Hank Collier

Steven Satterfield, Miller Union | Atlanta, Georgia

Steven Satterfield is well-known for his dedication to sourcing from Georgia farmers and makers. We stopped by Miller Union, his restaurant in Atlanta, Steven demonstrated a number of dishes showcasing Oliver Farms oils.

Rikki Waite, My Grandma’s Empanadas | Warner Robbins, Georgia

In Warner Robbins, Georgia, there is a “luncheria” that serves handmade Panamanian empanadas that are fried in Oliver Farm’s sunflower oil. Rikki Waite makes her dough every day by hand, her mother on one end of the counter, and Rikki perched at the other. Rikki met Clay when they both were vendors at the International City Farmers’ Market, where market master Jodi Daley saw that they could benefit each other and suggested that Rikki use Clay’s oils when frying up her perfectly crispy empanadas. Clay loves to tell the story of how he didn’t even know what an empanada was when he met Rikki. Well, he does now, and so do all of her ravenous customers.