Dec 052014

2014 does not equal 2015This summer I was shopping for olive oil. I prefer buying US-grown extra virgin olive oil and ran out of all the latest US-harvested oils from 2013, and the 2014 US oils hadn’t been harvested yet. As is my habit I looked at the harvest dates on each bottle and noticed that one of the big California olive oil producers had a 2014 harvest date on all their labels.

I was surprised since I knew that this particular producer had not harvested in early 2014. I guessed that they had purchased some foreign olive oil that matched the taste profile of their oil and were reflecting the harvest date of the newer oil, or that it was just a mistake. It never occurred to me that something was wrong.

Earlier this year I read the new California Food and Agricultural Code section that created the state Olive Oil Commission. The Commission is comprised of olive oil producers and handlers who produce 5,000 gallons or more of olive oil in a period that extends from July 1st of a year through June 30th of the next year. Today I just reread that law before diving in to the subsequent rules and regulations promulgated under the auspices of the California Department of Food and Agriculture. These rules and regs were enacted on September 26 of this year.

Well! If what I am about to print isn’t just some sloppy legal drafting then it is an attempt to pull the wool over the eyes of consumers. Check it out.

The following is from the labeling section of the new rules and regulations for olive oil grade and labeling standards:

11.3.6 Year of Harvest. If reference is made to a harvest date, then 100% of the olives used to make the oil must have been harvested during that time period. Because the harvest typically runs from October through January, the dating refers to it by the calendar year; for example the 2014-2015 harvest season is deemed to be the 2015 harvest. When oils from multiple years are combined and the year of harvest is indicated the label must indicate each of the harvest years contained therein. If the month and year of harvest are indicated then 100% of the oil must be from that period. If the season and year are indicted then 100% of the oil must be from that period.

What this says ladies and gentlemen is that California producers of 5,000+ gallons of olive oil annually can claim that their entire harvest is from the next year even if they complete their harvest prior to the end of the year, as long as it’s within the season. What it also alludes to is that producers of less than 5,000 gallons of olive oil a year are out of luck since they are not actually subject to this law.

Considering the updated harvest labeling that showed up on the bottles of olive oil I mentioned above, this is not a mistake. It is deliberate, by one, some, or all. Therefore it is designed to hoodwink consumers. The next time I hear or read one of those 5,000+ California producers or handlers complain about the fraudulent practices of the Europeans and the US olive oil importers I won’t be very sympathetic.

I doubt the author of the original law, Senator Wolk, had this regulated result  in mind. Grab a pen, some redrafting is in order.

May the sun shine through your branches.

Oct 172014
Georgia Olive Farms Olio Nuovo

Georgia Olive Farms Olio Nuovo

Hot Damn! I love, love, love the unfiltered olive oil that comes straight out of the olive mill. Some olive oil companies call it olio nuovo, some call it limited edition, and some, new oil: whatever it’s called this freshly pressed, unfiltered olive oil is a treat.

I’m going to interject a word of warning here. DO NOT SAVE IT FOR LATER. Use it up pretty quickly. Why? Because when some of the olive fruit is left in the oil it spoils faster, but – hey – you didn’t buy a great extra virgin olive oil to look at – right? Go ahead and mangia!

Olive harvesting in the northern hemisphere started in September and in my U.S. state, Georgia, harvesting is almost over. The first to have olive oil is Georgia Olive Farms and now, for one month only, they are selling their fresh, olio nuovo extra virgin olive oil through their online store. I just bought a six pack so hurry and get yours too.

May the sun shine through your branches.

Nov 192011

Here is a video from Reuters News Service entitled: “Spain’s olive industry looks overseas to combat crisis”.

Spanish olive oil producer Acesur is the featured company interviewed to illustrate the problems faced by Spain’s olive industry. Growth for Acesur is coming from exports since the domestic market is depressed by the euro zone crisis. Spain’s fortunes may be determined abroad.

May the sun shine through your branches.

Nov 132011

Every day I read lots of material about the olive, some from books and others from the internet. Each week I share with you the articles, recipes, research documents, and other information I find on the internet. Most of it is very interesting and some of it inspires me to write an article or two of my own. None of these links are in any way my opinion or are endorsed by me. I am sharing.

Olive Links of the Week

Journalist Tom Mueller will hold the world release of his new book  Extra Virginity: The Sublime and Scandalous World of Olive Oil on November 29, 2011 from 5:30 to 7:30 pm at the UC Davis Conference Center. Click here for more information and here to make reservations.

Spain’s Olive Harvest Marked by Lower Yields, Too Many Workers
The Olive Oil Times
Spain is poised to harvest olives, but did adverse weather conditions effect oil flavor and quality?

In Dookie, cream of the crop sows seeds of innovation
The Age
Olives aren’t new to Australia. Dookie agricultural college in northern Victoria has a 110 year old olive grove just inside it’s front gate.

Cambridge, Massachusetts award-winning restaurant EVOO is hiring dinner line cooks.
Craig’s List Boston
I wish I saw this sooner. Quick – send in your resume.

Of bio and brothels
The American Magazine
Find out about “bio” and what it means. Also, here’s another recipe for Spaghetti alla puttanesca.

Syria expects Record Olive Oil Production
Day Press News
Even though olives and olive oil are staples of the Syrian diet harvesting is woefully antiquated.

Syria Expects Record Olive Oil Production Amid Political Unrest
The Olive Oil Times
More on Syria.

Olea Farm olive oil is a growing biz
San Luis Obispo The Tribune
Clotilde Julien, owner of Olea Farm in Templeton California and her husband, Yves Julien have started a new business, Mill on Wheels. This mobile mill can process about two tons of olives an hour.

Dress up summer salads
Adelaide Now
Here are some salad dressings for those of you on the planetary southside who are now enjoying fresh vegies and for those of us on the northside who need to add some flavor to the hydroponically-grown greens now on display at the grocery.

A short guide to oil dressings
Teatro Naturale International
A new olive oil guide from authors Luigi Caricato and chef, Giuseppe Capano.

NOW EAT THIS: Rocco DiSpirito says you can have your cordon bleu and eat it, too
The Washington Post Lifestyle section
Chicken cordon bleu rollups – the butter is replaced with olive oil.

Olive oil flows at Pacific Sun Farms on annual community day
Corning Observer
Pacific Sun Farms doesn’t commercially grow olives but they will press them for folks on community day.

New olive oil regulations
Weekly Times Now
Australia’s new olive oil standard inspires others around the world.

Get the facts on fats
The Kansas City Star
Eat your monounsaturated fats.

Will the real Extra-Virgin Olive Oil please stand up!
Melting Pot Tours
An olive oil tour in California.

Olive oil prices stall
Weekly Times Now
Food prices going up, but not olive oil.

The Art of Olive Oil Tasting
Just Luxe
Hold an olive oil tasting.

The International Olive Council will host a seminar on olive cultivation systems and olive oil quality at it’s Madrid headquarters from December 12th to 16th, 2011.

For olive farmers, Eid holiday an opportunity to harvest
The Jordan Times
Kids are off school for the eight day holiday so more harvesting can get done.

May the sun shine through your branches.

Sep 182011

Every day I read lots of material about the olive, some from books and others from the internet. Each week I share with you the articles, recipes, research documents, and other information I find on the internet. Most of it is very interesting and some of it inspires me to write an article or two of my own. None of these links are in any way my opinion or are endorsed by me. I am sharing.

Olive Links of the Week

Excellent advice for making small and large batches of pesto from Victoria and Vancouver Island Times Colonist, “Ask Eric: Are pricy pine nuts essential in pesto?“.

Should you brush teeth with olive, coconut, or sesame seed oil to help prevent cavities or gum infections?” from

From Fox News online read “Olive Oil: 101“.

WHAT’S FOR LUNCH: Quinoa Tabbouleh” from Tucson, Arizona News 13. I love quinoa. It is a tasty, light alternative to grains or cereals and is high in protein. I’ve made it for the family and am the only one that eats it since my husband and kids think it “looks funny”. When you cook it – it sprouts, which looks like a little tail.

An interesting story about Jane and Neil Seymour: Owners of Mount Zero in the Wimmera region of Victoria, AU, from The Sydney Morning Herald online.

Here are some ideas for using up all those peppers you harvested this year. From the Catonsville Patch, “From the Farm: Recipes for Peppers“.

From The Santa Rosa Press Democrat, “This year’s olive harvest is the pits“.

Importing olive oil from Spain is a new business for a busy mum” from the Ely Standard.

EU food labelling law spotlights strength of industry lobbying” and olive oil is effected. Article from the EU Observer.

Olives and Olive Oil Press Conference and Tasting at Spring 2012 Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week” – photos from International Olive Council’s “Add Some Life” press conference in NYC.

Olive trees always seem to get in the middle of the troubles in the eastern Mediterranean – “Palestinians on statehood: ‘We want action, not votes at the UN’” from The Guardian.

Roasted tomato soup recipe from the Shreveport Times.

Grapevine Olive Oil Company opens new store. Read article from The Dallas Observer, “Lovers Lane Olive Oil is Open with an Abundance of Smashed Olives and Spices“.

Broad Street Licensing Group Food NewsSay It Ain’t So: EVOO Not Really Virgin?” – chefs file lawsuit in California Superior Court over defective olive oils.

From Mother Nature Network, “Olive Garden, Red Lobster slimming children’s menus“. The aim is fewer calories and less sodium.

Master Gardeners: Marin’s Mediterranean climate ideal for growing olives” article from the Marin Independent Journal.

From a delicious and recipe, a little cheesy and a little spicy, “Chorizo & feta gozleme with tomato salad“. It’s almost like a pizza but flaky and light.

May the sun shine through your branches.