California Olive Oil Competition winners named

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After more than a month of waiting, results from the 10th California Olive Oil Competition are in.

Presented by the Yolo County Fair, the competition was held on April 1, featuring 123 entries by 44 olive oil producers throughout the state. These products were sampled by nine judges, who took most of the day evaluating conventional, organic and flavored oils.

This year, there were several new producers entering their olive oils.

Being a California only event, the competition really showcased the many olive producers throughout the state as we had entries from as far north as Oroville and as far south as Santa Ynez and many towns in between.

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The top winners for 2015 are as follows:

Best of Show Delicate was won by California Olive Ranch from Artois with Other Blends “Miller’s Choice”. California Olive Ranch set out to craft a delicious and affordable American olive oil on par with the best imported olive oils. The Ranch has three of its own orchards and contract with a number of growers near the Sierra Nevada foothills of Northern California. The company is pioneering an innovative farming method wherein the olives are planted on trellis systems much like wine grapes. The olive bushes are irrigated with drip irrigation, reducing the amount of water used. California Olive Ranch olives go from branch to bottle in a few hours.

The Best of Show Robust was won by Frate Sole Olive Oil from Woodland with “Tuscan Blend”. Frate Sole Olive also won the Best of Show Yolo County Resident. Frate Sole Olive Oil is a family operation committed to sustainable farming since 1999. The Mayer family grows 10 varieties of olives between Woodland and Davis. To ensure quality, the olives are hand-picked at their peak ripeness. The oil is cold-extracted within 24 hours, stored in steel tanks and bottled to meet demand. This is the Mayer’s seventh Yolo gold medal and the second time receiving the Best of Yolo County award.

• Sutter Buttes Olive Oil from Sutter received the Best Citrus Flavored Oil with Meyer Lemon. Sutter Buttes Olive Oil designs products for the gourmet as well as for the general food lover. They believe that the use of simple, but exceptional ingredients, can transform ordinary into extraordinary. The blends for their infused Extra Virgin Olive Oils start with a base extracted from the Arbequina olive. Sutter Buttes takes perfectly ripe ingredients and locks in flavors so you can enjoy them year round.

• The Best Other Flavored Oil with Jalapeno/Lime was won by Il Fiorello Olive Oil Company from Fairfield. Located in Suisun Valley, the Il Fiorello is a family owned Olive Farm that produces international award winning extra virgin olive oils and co-milled flavored oils. After a trip to Italy Ann and Mark Sievers came home and planted 100 olive trees at their home in Green Valley. They state “Good olives make Good oils” and have proven it having won over 60 medals in competitions since 2009.

Best of Show Intermediate was won by California Gold Olive Oil Company from Oakdale with a Mono Cultivar “Estate Coratina” which went on to win The Patty Bogle-Roncoroni Award Best of the Best. This award is in honor of the late Patty Bogle-Roncoroni who was a Fair Board Director for several years. She was very instrumental in getting the Olive Oil Competition started at the Yolo County fair.

Kevin Tazelaar, the owner of California Gold Olive Oil in Oakdale stated that he is an almond farmer with an olive oil hobby. He and his wife around 1998/99 had gone to an Art and Olive Festival.

After tasting some really good olive oil, it inspired them to plant some olive trees. He remarked, fast forward to the present, “the hobby” now has about 10 acres tucked here and there around the almond trees.

Tazelaar commented that in November of 2014 they decided that the Coratina crop looked sufficient enough to justify crushing it alone. His prize winning “Estate Coratina” — The Best of the Best.

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On the featured picture by Jim Smith:
Preparing their olive oil samples for tasting are, from left, Arden Kremer and John Hadley. The pair were among three teams of three judges each sampling some 123 types of olive oils in April.

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