Aug 302013

Just nine seats left for UC Davis Master Olive Oil Milling Short Course.

Learn to mill olive oil with one of the top extra virgin olive oil producers in the world, Leandro Ravetti, of Boundary Bend Ltd in Australia. He will be teaching at UC Davis in October and you have just a few more days to get a discount.

I took this class last year and it was great. Follow this link to sign up.

May the sun shine through your branches.

Jun 132013

Thanks to climate change growing olives for olive oil is spreading quickly. Along with the commercial growing of olives is the need for trained millers.

If you want your olives to have a fighting chance to be bottled and sold as extra virgin olive oil you have less than 24 hours to mill your olives. Of course, there are many other factors to this simplistic formula, BUT I know where you can go to learn all about milling olive oil properly and well.

The University of California at Davis is conducting its 2013 Master Milling Short Course October 3rd through 5th. The instructor is a fantastic miller, Leandro Ravetti.

Leandro is among the world’s top experts in olive oil production.   He is the technical director of Australia’s Boundary Bend Limited whose success is guided by thorough economic, chemical and sensory analysis to maximize production efficiency and oil quality. Leandro’s expertise guides Boundary Bend to top awards at international olive oil competitions.

Here is the link to the course. Don’t forget to sign up early so you can take advantage of the discount.

Also, check out the new UC Davis “Survey of Consumer Attitudes on Olive Oil.” The information is great.

May the sun shine through your branches.

Mar 062013

I’m not sure I believe this story in United Kingdom publication The Daily Mail. I met several Spanish extra virgin olive oil producers recently and they had excellent 2012 crops. Is this a ploy by ‘Big Olive Oil’ to increase prices in the UK?


Spain is not the only producer of olive oil, but it has been the most abundant for several decades. There are many countries that produce fantastic evoo. I can name a few off the top of my head – the United States of America, South Africa, Australia, Greece, Tunisia, Chile, Argentina, … You can even buy many of your favorite extra virgin olive oils online.

So don’t give up on extra virgin olive oil in your recipes just yet.

May the sun shine through your branches.

Nov 082012

The Tunisian olive harvest begins next week and will continue for three months. Their olive oil production will increase by 60,000 tons from 2011 production levels.

I am a big fan of Tunisian olive oil. It was a staple for all my meals while I lived there and it was fantastic.

Unfortunately Tunisia’s olive oil industry has found itself a victim of European trade barriers. Tunisians find themselves forced to sell their oil to European producers who then mix Europe-grown olive oils with Tunisian oils, bottle them in Italy, and sell them as Italian oil.

This is one of the ways the European olive oil producers keep most of the profits in Europe and still get their outrageous land and per bottle government subsidies from the European Union. When you hear EU countries whining about US trade barriers to ‘their’ olive oil, just remember that’s what they do to all other olive oil producing countries.

The EU olive oil exporters are greedy. They take advantage of olive growers and other olive oil producers and then complain that the billions they make just aren’t enough. How ever will they keep themselves in grappa and cigars?

Tunisia expects olive oil crop to rise 33 percent | News by Country | Reuters

May the sun shine through your branches.

Oct 102012

Last week Olive Crazy went back to California. This time for two olive milling and olive oil production courses taught by Pablo Canamasas at the University of California at Davis. Pablo is the oil production technical manager at Boundary Bend Limited, which is Australia’s largest olive oil producer. Boundary Bend is owned by Cobram Estate and has many grove locations in the country.

I enjoyed the introductory course, but was very pleased with the detail in the advanced milling course. Pablo is a wonderful teacher.

The Olive Center at the University made available to the students the Olive to Bottle mobile mill as a process and equipment viewing aid. I took a short video for you and edited out the sound since the mill was in partial action and was loud. This is my virgin upload to YouTube. There is room for improvement but I’m not unhappy with the result.

The main thing missing in the video is the oil coming out at the end. The olive paste was still very dry and the oil had not yet been released. When you see the open metal grid with the auger churning, that is the dry olive paste. The millers are adding enzymes (brown liquid in the plastic cup) to break down the pectins and water (the hose) as processing aids. The stuff bubbling in the tube at the end into the yellow bins is some of the separated water. It was stinky.

The coffin-like piece of equipment is the decanter. It is a centrifuge which separates the oil from the water and the paste. It is a fascinating device made even more fascinating because you can’t actually see what’s going on inside. The miller must use his or her experience to intuit all that’s happening in there.

The olives that are being milled are early harvest Arbequinas. The smell coming off the bin was rich and inviting. I can still remember the scent.

May the sun shine through your branches.