SJV Olive Oil Competition Winners Revealed

Big Fresno Fair Names Winners of SJV Olive Oil Competition

News Release

After extensive judging of quality olive oils, The Big Fresno Fair is excited to reveal the winners of the 3rd Annual San Joaquin Valley Olive Oil Competition (SJVOOC).

This competition, open to all olive oil producers in the State of California with products made from their most recent olive harvest, received a total of 69 entries from 18 different olive oil producers from throughout the State.

Entries were received in two classes, Extra Virgin Olive Oil and Flavored Olive Oil, with 9 subcategories in total. Gold and Silver Medals were awarded, as well as an overall “Best of Show” selected from all of the highest scoring gold medal entries received in the EVOO and Flavored Oil categories.

All of the flavored oils used for the Best of Show, were all co-milled. In total there were 47 EVOO and 22 Flavored Olive Oil entriesthat were entered for judging. The winners of the 3rd annual San Joaquin Valley Olive Oil Competition are:

  • Best of Show

Organic Roots Olive Oil’s Organic Roots Koroneiki (Maxwell)

Calivirgin – Coldani Olive Ranch’s Calivirgin Hot Virgin Jalapeno (Lodi)

Extra Virgin Olive Oils

  • Gold Medal Winners

Spanish Blends: Corto Olive Co.’s Corto Olive Company Olive Oil (Lodi), La Panza Ranch’s Outlaw Blend (Santa Margarita) and Kimberley Wine Vinegars’ KimberleyCalifornia Olive Oil (Acampo)

Spanish Singles: The Mill at Kings River’s The Mill (Sanger), ENZO Olive Oil Company’s Delicate Ranch 20 (Clovis), The Olive Press’ Empeltre EVOO (Sonoma),The Olive Press’ Sevillano EVOO (Sonoma) and Organic Roots Olive Oil’s Arbosana (Maxwell)

Italian Blends: Alta Cresta Olive Oil’s Italian Blend (Paso Robles), The Olive Press’ Italian Blend (Sonoma), Scarlata Farms Olive Oil’s Tuscan Blend Reserve (Tracy), San Miguel Olive Farm’s Tuscan Gold Nectar (San Miguel) and San Miguel Olive Farm’s Tuscan Gold/Pristine (San Miguel)

Italian Singles: Bozzano Olive Ranch’s Bozzano Organic (Stockton) and Calivirgin – Coldani Olive Ranch’s Lodi Olive Oil Early Harvest Ascolano (Lodi)

Other Blends: Mangini Ranch Olive Oil Company’s Mangini Ranch (Wallace)

Other Singles: Organic Roots Olive Oil’s Koroneiki (Maxwell)

  • Silver Medal Winners

Spanish Blends: ENZO Olive Oil Company’s Tyler Florence Test Kitchen EVOO (Clovis)

Spanish Singles: Calivirgin – Coldani Olive Ranch’s Calivirgin Premium EVOO (Lodi), ENZO Olive Oil Company’s Medium Ranch 11 (Clovis) ENZO Olive Oil Company’s Delicate Ranch 11 (Clovis), ENZO Olive Oil Company’s Medium Ranch 20 (Clovis), The Olive Press’ Arbequina EVOO (Sonoma), The Olive Press’ Arbosana EVOO (Sonoma), The Olive Press’ Picual EVOO (Sonoma), Corto Olive Company’s Truly EVOO – Arbosana (Lodi), Corto Olive Company’s Truly EVOO – Arbequina (Lodi), Organic Roots Olive Oil’s Arbequina (Maxwell) and Rosenthal Olive Ranch’s Arbosana (Madera)

Italian Blends: Scarlata Farm’s Olive Oil’s Tuscan Blend (Tracy), Bozzano Olive Ranch’s Toscana Organic (Stockton), Calivirgin – Coldani Olive Ranch’s Lodi Olive Oil – Miller’s Blend (Lodi) and Winter Creek Olive Oil’s Winter Creek (Winter Creek)

Italian Singles: Calivirgin – Coldani Olive Ranch’s Lodi Olive Oil Frantoio (Lodi)

Other Blends: Bozzano Olive Ranch’s A2 (Stockton) and Rancho Azul y Oro’s Estate EVOO (San Miguel)

Other Singles: ENZO Olive Oil Company’s Bold Ranch 11 (Clovis), ENZO Olive Oil Company’s Bold Ranch 20 (Clovis), The Olive Press’ Heritage Mission EVOO (Sonoma), Bamford Family Farms’ Silverstar Early Harvest Mission (Oroville), Mangini Ranch Olive Oil Company’s Mangini Ranch (Wallace), Rosenthal Olive Ranch’s Koroneiki (Madera) and Corto Olive Company’s Truly EVOO (Lodi)

Flavored Olive Oils

  • Gold Medal Winners

Citrus: Enzo Olive Oil Company’s Clementine Crush (Clovis) and The Olive Press’ Limonato (Sonoma)

Herbal: CaliVirgin – Coldani Olive Ranch’s Calivirgin Bountiful Basil Olive Oil (Lodi)

Other Flavors: ENZO Olive Oil Company’s Fresno Chili Crush (Clovis) and Calivirgin -Coldani Olive Ranch’s Calivirgin Hot Virgin Jalapeno (Lodi)

  • Silver Medal Winners

Citrus: Calivirgin – Coldani Olive Ranch’s Calivirgin Blood Orange Olive Oil (Lodi) and Calivirgin – Coldani Olive Ranch’s Calivirgin Lusty Lemon Olive Oil (Lodi)

Herbal: ENZO Olive Oil Company’s Basil Crush (Clovis) and Calivirgin – Coldani Olive Ranch’s Calivirgin Rustic Rosemary Olive Oil (Lodi)

Other Flavors: The Olive Press’ Jalapeno Olive Oil (Sonoma), Calivirgin – Coldani Olive Ranch’s Calivirgin Jalapeno Garlic (Lodi), Calivirgin – Coldani Olive Ranch’s Calivirgin Extreme Heat Habanero (Lodi) and Calivirgin – Coldani Olive Ranch’s Calivirgin Guilty Garlic Olive Oil (Lodi)

“The SJVOOC continues to grow each year, and we are very excited to have received a record number of entries this year,” said Stacy Rianda, Deputy Manager II at The Big Fresno Fair. “California has such a vast and rich food-producing community that it is important to hold competitions, like this, that showcase some of the great products our regions offer the world.”

Participating producers had the opportunity to submit multiple entries under one category but could not submit a particular entry to more than one category. For each entry, producers had to submit two, 250 ml bottles of their olive oil with retail labels and a $60 non-refundable fee, per entry.

Additionally, each entry had to be available for commercial sale at the time of submittal. Submissions were accepted starting mid-January through March 24.

All submissions were evaluated and scored on the following criteria:

  • Gold Medal: Awarded to an olive oil that demonstrated its type and/or varietal character, balance, structure and complexities to the highest standards. Gold Medals were awarded to those oils receiving scores between 86 – 100 points.
  • Silver Medal: Awarded to an olive oil reflecting the correct distribution of balance and character of its type or variety; an oil deemed to be well crafted and of excellent quality. Silver Medals were awarded to those oils receiving scores between 76 – 85 points.
  • Best of Show: Awarded to an olive oil recognized to possess special characteristics of the highest quality overall.

Gold Medal and Best of Show winners will have the opportunity to have a booth in the Wells Fargo Agriculture Building on one day during a weekend of the 2017 Big Fresno Fair where they can taste, display and sell their award-winning product. Additionally, educational information will be set up so that fairgoers can learn more about the art of making olive oil, its health benefits, recipes and more.

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Happy Pumpkin Day!

Celebrate Pumpkin Artistry!

By Laurie Greene, Editor

Russ Leno, master sculptor of sand, snow, ice, wood, watermelon, and his favorite—pumpkins, appreciates the the challenge of creating carvings from hundred-pound fleshy orange masses.  “This giant cultivar of a squash plant is a good material to carve in, Leno explained. “It gives you fast results, in under a five-hour time period. I like to entertain in front of crowds, and it just gives you something that people can see.”

A new species, "Pumpkin Fish."
New species, “Pumpkin Fish.”

“Everybody likes pumpkin carving. Everybody likes a jack-o-lantern. It’s just something that everybody enjoys, from the ages of 2 to 92, or even older. It’s still one of the last things I think we do. If you don’t do any art at all, you might still carve a pumpkin at this time of year. I just like the medium, and I just like doing it. It’s just fun. It’s a lot of fun.”

A recent performer at the Big Fresno Fair, Leno’s inspiration comes from within, as well as from looking at different artist sculptures, paintings, or drawings, or different elements in nature. “I might take a culmination of two or three different things and put my own spin on them. I might like something I see, but discover a better way to put a spin on it for a pumpkin. A lot of times, a pumpkin is only going to give you what it is going to give you because it’s only so thick and it’s hollow on the inside. You’ve got to be careful.”

Pumpkin Carvings by Russ Leno
Pumpkin Carvings by Russ Leno

“Everybody seems to think that they just pulled it out of a hat, and that’s just not true. After doing this for a number of years, I realized all the great sculptors from way back when didn’t just get a hammer and chisel and start pounding rock. They did a lot of planning and drawings up front.”

Leno initiates his ginger-hued creations from drawings and photos of posed people and things. “As you learn more about sculpting, to do something good, it is a planned event.”

He acknowledged you can carve certain things in certain pumpkins that you just can’t in other ones. “I might start out saying I’m going to carve this, but find the pumpkin is not thick enough or deep enough. The sculpture becomes something totally other than what I started out with, but that’s okay. They all come out nice at the end, and it’s fun.”

Leno, who has seen a range of pumpkins, which are native to North America, from different regions in the country with variations in size, shape, color and texture, but he prefers Prizewinner Pumpkins and small Atlantic Giant Pumpkins from the central California coastline. “These 100-pounders or 150-pounders are really good carvers because of the thickness -to-size ratio is very well proportioned so that you can get a fairly deep cut along with a proportionate-sized piece. They’re just great carving pumpkins.”

Big Fresno Fair Pumpkins
Big Fresno Fair Pumpkins

“I carve large pumpkins, and the people who grow the large pumpkins and I share a great love for the pumpkin itself and what it takes to grow them to their large sizes and their capability of being sculpted. You just don’t find these giant pumpkins just any old place. They require a little better soil conditions and fertilizers and specific pH balance in the soil to get these up at these sizes.”

“Pumpkin carving, which began as an all-American craft, has gained international popularity because of the internet and cultivation of pumpkins in other countries. A lot of countries now celebrate Halloween like we do, and people across the globe are now carving pumpkins and having a good time with them.”

“The internet has also created a way for sculptors to share their different carvings with like-minded people around the world.”

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