Olive oil is a staple ingredient in many Mediterranean dishes, yet the source for the highest quality olive oil these days may be thousands of miles from Europe and the Middle East.
The countries best known for olive oil — Italy, Spain and Greece — have had bad harvests this year from unruly weather, Bloomberg recently reported, and the prices for olive oil have jumped in response. Meanwhile, California has been steadily increasing its olive oil manufacturing, and implemented strict standards for the oil. “More and more people are aware of the high standards we have and embracing locally produced products,” said Patricia Darragh, executive director of the California Olive Oil Council based in Berkeley, a trade association with a seal certification for local farmers.
More domestic players are joining the U.S. olive oil production business, which has seen a 9.2% increase in revenue over the past five years, and demand and revenue are expected to continue to rise through 2021, though at a slower pace, according to research firm IBISWorld. California alone makes up more than 99% of U.S. olive oil production, according to the California Olive Oil Council.Bad harvests in Europe and fake olive oil raise the question, are you getting the real deal?,