California olive oil to have record breaking year
Valley olive orchards helped contribute to what is expected to be a record year for olive oil producers. Consumers are discovering California grown olives produce a much better tasting oil. The California Farm Bureau says growers this year could produce a record two million gallons of olive oil. The Valley olive harvest has wrapped up, with added acreage pushing olive oil production to new highs.
Ricchuiti Family Farms grows, presses and mills its own organic olives under the Enzo Olive Oil brand. Vincent Ricchuiti was excited to hear about this year's production forecast. "There's a report out there we're expecting about 2 million gallons of olive oil this year as an industry," Ricchuiti said. "That's great news because that means farmers are getting higher yields, bigger crops." Ricchiuti says the growth in California olive oil production means bigger stores can also carry their products, in addition to the family store Bella Fruitta.
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The jury is in - Olive oil lowers mortality by a quarter and heart disease by nearly one-half
Followers of the popular Mediterranean diet have known for years that eating fresh fruits and vegetables, nuts, seeds and plenty of extra virgin olive oil is beneficial to health. Recent studies have continued to bolster this eating pattern, with much less emphasis on overcooked meats, hydrogenated fats and fried foods. They may not realize that many of the benefits come from the monounsaturated fats provided by the liberal use of fresh-pressed olive oil.
Reporting in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, researchers from Spain found that the monounsaturated fats found in olive oil work synergistically with essential fatty acids such as the omega-3 fat, DHA to enhance their incorporation into cell membranes. The scientists found an association between greater olive oil intake and a lower risk of dying over an average of 13.4 years of follow-up.

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American Olive Oil Producers Draft Federal Marketing Order
American olive oil producers are drafting a federal marketing order that would set higher quality standards, redefine grades and require new testing of all olive oil produced here. If they can get the order adopted by the USDA, industry sources say, domestic producers will push for the rules to apply to imports too.
The effort is the latest in a series of initiatives intended to level the playing field with olive oil importers who have long enjoyed an absence of quality enforcement in the world’s biggest market. The result has been an extra virgin grade with no real meaning, and an American public so accustomed to rancid olive oil, they actually prefer it in taste tests.

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California's Olive Oils Challenge Europe's
American food lovers have long taken for granted that only olive oils from the Mediterranean are worth buying — preferably with an olive tree, an Italian flag and some words like "authentic cold pressed" on the bottle. But in the last decade, California producers have mounted a major new effort to bring back the domestic olive oil industry, planting thousands of acres, building new mills and producing oils that can be fresher, purer and cheaper than all but the finest imports.
But in the last decade, California producers have mounted a major new effort to bring back the domestic olive oil industry, planting thousands of acres, building new mills and producing oils that can be fresher, purer and cheaper than all but the finest imports.
The California olive oil trade, started by 16th-century Spanish missionaries, was almost dead 10 years ago, except for small-scale producers along the Pacific Coast and in the wine country.
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U.S. aid to Morocco worries California olive farmers
The biggest threat to California's historic olive industry isn't the bad weather, disease, prohibitive harvesting costs and fierce competition already taking their toll, growers say: It's the federal government.
The United States has promised Morocco - one of California's main competitors - hundreds of millions of dollars in aid to stimulate agriculture in that country, including rehabilitating its more than 1 million acres of existing olive trees and planting 150,000 additional acres. This while California, the only state to commercially produce olives, has been battling Morocco and Spain for the black table-olive and olive-oil markets in this country for more than a decade, local growers said.
"We're struggling to survive, only to find out that our own country is subsidizing the very place that could put us out of business," said Dennis Burreson, who with his three sons has 500 acres of Manzanillo and Sevillano table-olive trees in Orland (Glenn County). He hopes that his grandchildren will someday run the farm, but worries that California olive growers could be a dying breed.
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California Survey Confirms Olive Oil Boom
The olive oil industry in California continues to expand through investment and innovation and, as the American appetite for olive oil soars, the state is in a position to meet the growing demand, according to the California Olive Oil Council (COOC) report, 2010 California Olive Oil Industry Survey Statistics.
The report takes a look at the expansion in California's extra virgin olive oil industry since the last report in 2004 and provides a portrait of an industry enjoying growth at a time when many industries are scaling back.
Olive oil production is up about 30 percent this year and is expected to exceed one million gallons by early next year, an amount that surpasses France. Patty Darragh, long time director of the COOC, is very pleased by the positive changes in the California olive oil industry since the inception of the industry group 18 years ago. “We have grown very dramatically since 1992,” says Darragh. “What’s really exciting is we estimated we’d produce 1.1 million gallons, but it gave people the opportunity to do a comparison to a country very well known as a producer, which is thrilling.”
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