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.

Episcopal Priest Becomes Farmer

Following His Heart to a Second Calling, Suburban Detroit Priest Becomes California Farmer


By Patrick Cavanaugh, Farm News Director


People change careers for a variety of reasons, but Ken Erickson took that notion to an extreme. Erickson, who had grown up in the Detroit suburbs and who was serving as an Episcopal priest in Detroit, received a phone call from relatives who had been farming in Sutter and Colusa Counties for 25 years.


“My aunt and uncle asked if I would be interested in coming to California to learn how to farm and help manage their orchards, which included walnuts, pecans, and olives for oil,” said Erickson. “So my family and I eventually made a decision to do just that, and it has been a big adventure for us.”

walnut orchard


Currently living in Meridian, Sutter County and working side by side with his cousin, Lars Jerkins, Erickson took stock, “We are enjoying living and working in the country. It’s great to work outside,” he said.


People often ask Erickson about the difference between farming and pastoring. “I tell people trees are like people; they need lots of nurture and care, but they don’t talk back,” he quipped.


But, of course, giving up his career as an Episcopal priest required a great deal of thought. “It was a hard decision,” Erickson explained. “It was a big change, but we decided to go for it. Here we are and learning from lots of people, especially from my aunt, uncle and cousin. And I have come to respect and appreciate the fact that the farming community is supportive. They want to help in any way. My family and I are here to stay.”

Celebrate National Ice Cream Month!

Celebrate National Ice Cream Month with California Ice Cream and Flavors!

By Lauren Dutra, NAFB Summer Intern and Assistant Editor

Jennifer Giambroni, director of communications, California Milk Advisory Board
Jennifer Giambroni, director of communications, California Milk Advisory Board

First established in 1984 by Ronald Reagan, the 40th President of the United States, National Ice Cream Month was scheduled for the month of July, with the third Sunday of the month designated as National Ice Cream Day.

Jennifer Giambroni, director of communications, California Milk Advisory Board, explained why Californians, in particular, have so much to celebrate during National Ice Cream Month. “As the number one ice cream state,” she said, “we produce 126 million gallons of ice cream a year.”

Thats a lot of scoops!

California also leads the nation in milk production, and 99 percent of dairies in the state are family-owned. Including milk production on farms and milk processing, the California dairy industry, supports about 190,000 jobs in the California economy and contributed about $21 billion in economic value added in 2014, according to “Contributions of the California Dairy Industry to the California Economy,” by the University of California Agricultural Issues Center (May 14, 2015). 

Blueberry Ice Cream Float
Blueberry Ice Cream Float (Source: California Milk Advisory Board, Kristina Vanni Blogger, 2012)

Ice cream, being both timeless and innovative, has evolved in flavors and varieties over the years, according to Giambroni, while still holding true to the traditional treat you grew up with as a kid. “Ice cream is an important category that represents a lot of the milk produced on California’s more than 1,400 family dairy farms and carry the Real California Milk seal,” she noted.

“We’re seeing adult-friendly milkshakes with the addition of spirits, ice cream sandwiches made with more than cookies, and sundaes with everything from balsamic vinegar reductions to red bean paste,” Giambroni elaborated. Other new ice cream trends include hyper-indulgent flavor combinations, including nuts and fruits grown in California, and “better for you” versions with probiotics, varying levels of fat and sugar, added calcium, lactose-free, and different kinds of oils. “We’re loving the olive oil and walnut oil ice creams for their subtle flavors,” Giambroni noted.

Approximately 12 pounds of Real California Milk are used to make just one gallon of California ice cream.

Watermelon Chill Ice Cream (California Milk Advisory Board)
Watermelon Chill Ice Cream (California Milk Advisory Board)

The California Milk Advisory Board works with bloggers on how to incorporate ice cream into events for children of all ages:

TomKat Studio – DIY Ice cream Sandwich Bar

Hostess with the Mostess – Healthy Milkshake Bar

Hostess with the Mostess – How to Set Up a Cocktail Milkshake Bar

Hostess with the Mostess – Kids Sundae Party

Check it out:

Ice Cream Sandwich (California Milk Advisory Board)
Ice Cream Sandwich (California Milk Advisory Board)

Rick’s Ice CreamBlue Moon-A fruit loops tasting ice cream with super-secret natural ingredients

McConnell’s Boysenberry Rosé Milk JamCentral Coast, grass-fed milk & cream and cane sugar, slowly-simmered to a thick, rich and decadent milk jam – then churned into house-made, boysenberry & rosé wine preserves. 

Breyer’s Strawberry Ice Cream-packed with sun-ripened California strawberries picked at the peak of happiness!

Gilroy Garlic Festival Garlic Ice Cream-July 29-31, 2016

The Orange Works‘ Orange Ice Cream and Chili Mango Ice Cream

Where Is the Best Ice Cream in California? (PBS, 2014)

California State Fair announces first Extra Virgin Olive Oil Competition

Source: CDFA

The California State Fair is expanding its commercial competitions for 2015 to include a competition for extra virgin olive oil. Of all the olive oil produced in the United States, California produces 99 percent of it.

Extra virgin olive oils in more than 15 different classes and divisions, including blends and flavored olive oils will be judged during the competition. The entry deadline is April 1, 2015. The California State Fair Extra Virgin Olive Oil Competition is open only to California olive oil producers.

From July 10-26 the State Fair will feature a special California extra virgin olive oil exhibit with the award-winning extra virgin olive oils on display, interactive educational exhibits, free tastings and market research surveys.

On average, the world consumes approximately 2.25 million tons of olive oil each year and annual consumption in the United States has increased from 30 million gallons to nearly 70 million gallons a year over the last two decades.

Producers wishing to enter the Extra Virgin Olive Oil competition should visit to view the competition handbook for rules and entry information.

This project is supported by the Specialty Crop Block Grant Program, which is funded by the USDA and administered by CDFA. The goal of the project is to promote the awareness and availability of award-winning California extra virgin olive oils.

Student Inventors Take Grand Prize

Source: Pat Bailey; UC Davis

A student team composed of some of the best and brightest young minds at the University of California, Davis,  took the grand prize in the finals of the global iGEM (International Genetically Engineered Machines) competition in Boston. The team also won the Best Policy and Practices Advanced Presentation Award.

The UC Davis students, all undergraduates, placed tops in what is known as the “overgraduate division.” A team from the University of Heidelberg was awarded the grand prize in the “undergraduate division.”

The competition, which this year featured 245 teams from Asia, Europe, Latin America and North America, annually challenges student teams to design and build biological systems or machines and present their inventions in the international competition.

The UC Davis team spent several months building a high-tech, palm-sized biosensor to quickly evaluate the chemical profile of olive oil. Their creation provides a prototype for quickly and accurately detecting low-grade or adulterated olive oil.

The UC Davis team is composed of undergraduate students Lucas Murray, Brian Tamsut, James Lucas, Sarah Ritz, Aaron Cohen and Simon Staley, with student Yeonju Song serving as an alternate or “shadow” team member. A team of faculty advisers guided the students. For more on the innovative olive oil biosensor and the iGEM competition visit, click here.

New Standards for California Olive Oil

By: Monique Bienvenue; Cal Ag Today Social Media Manager

The California Department of Food and Agriculture has approved grading and labeling standards for California olive oil, which are scheduled to take effect on September 26, 2014.

The standards were recommended by the recently-formed California Olive Oil Commission – brought into existence by olive oil producers in recognition of their fast-growing industry. The standards will set California-specific guidelines that will apply to handlers producing 5,000 gallons or more of olive oil made from olives grown in California.

“California agriculture has an enviable reputation for high-quality products sought by consumers here and around the world,” said CDFA Secretary Karen Ross. “We believe the time has come to designate a ‘California-grown’ olive oil, and these standards are an excellent way to do it.”

The standards, which are based on scientific research at the UC Davis Olive Center, are unique to California production – only extra-virgin olive oil is produced here, and the standards will establish a more stringent limit for free fatty acids, a negative attribute that signals a breakdown of olive oil quality due to exposure to heat, light and oxygen.

The UC Davis Olive Center was built in 2008 and has built a strong university/industry coalition aimed at meeting the research and education needs of olive growers and processors. The Center has delivered more than $3 million in research benefits while supporting itself through product sales, fee-based laboratory analysis, research grants, and donations.

For additional information, please click on the link below:


California Center in Shanghai Offers Direct Trade Gateway to Calif. Ag Industry

By Kyle Buchoff, Reporter

Strategically located in the new free trade zone in Shanghai, the California Center offers California companies a direct gateway to buyers and wholesalers in the Shanghai metro area (pop. 20 million) and beyond.  The California Center is a private entity but enjoys strong support from both the California and Chinese governments.

Gordon Hinkle, VP California Center
Gordon Hinkle, VP California Center

While the Center showcases a huge range of California products and services, agriculture comprises the single largest trade category. Gordon Hinkle, vice president of the California Center explains, “Our range of members runs across the gamut, but we do have a heavy [emphasis his] emphasis on ag because some of the highest demand for California goods and services is in ag and wine. We aren’t limited only to food and ag, but I would say it is the largest portion of what we are doing.”

The former international trade director for the California Asian Pacific Chamber of Commerce, Hinkle said, “We have a lot of different organizations and associations that are involved with us,” Hinkle continued, “to help promote their products.  Everything from processed goods to fresh fruits and vegetables…a very important part of what we are doing is working directly with the ag community.”

Recently Mr. Hinkle and other associates visited pistachio, raisin and olive oil producers in the Fresno area.  “These are the folks we are helping to introduce and increase their exports into China, and we have had very good early response.”

California Center LogoGordon also serves as a Committee Chair for the 150th Anniversary Celebration of the Chinese Workers Contribution to the Construction of the U.S. Transcontinental Railroad, which will be holding numerous events in 2015, recognizing Chinese contribution and significance to American history.

The California Center provides door-to-door service to bring products to Chinese buyer destinations in a seamless operation that includes: shipping, customs clearance, warehousing, sales transactions and customer services. Through the center’s portal, Chinese buyers can navigate through listed California companies seamlessly and with great ease!