For the first time, the California State Fair honored olive oil producers

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The Olive Press of Sonoma won Best in Show for its Sevillano extra virgin olive oil and took home top honors at the California State Fair’s inaugural olive oil competition.

The Olive Press Sevillano extra virgin olive oil won Best in Show in the commercial competition, added this year to the State Fair’s roster of agricultural contests. The Olive Press also won divisional awards for both the Sevillano and its citrus-infused Blood Orange olive oil plus four gold medals, three silvers and a bronze.

“We are thrilled to win Best of Show at the inaugural California State Fair olive oil competition,” said Nancy Cline, owner of The Olive Press. “Our goal is to support the growth of the California olive oil industry, and being a part of more competitions in state, especially statewide fairs, is huge for the olive oil community.”

So far in 2015, The Olive Press has won 62 medals for its oils.

Results of the State Fair olive oil judging were released Tuesday. The Best of Show winners will be honored June 23 on the steps of the State Capitol. In addition, several of the winning oils will be part of the upcoming “Best of California” tasting event (details to be announced) as well as tastings at a new olive oil exhibit at the State Fair, which runs July 10-26 at Cal Expo.

Judging was held May 7 in the clubhouse of Cal Expo’s main grandstand. The contest was open to commercial oils, using only olives grown, processed and packed in California.

Among the flavored oils, Nick Sciabica & Sons of Modesto won the top prize for its jalapeño extra virgin olive oil. For a complete list of winners, click here.

Olive oil ranks among the state’s oldest agricultural products, but is also among California’s fastest growing agricultural industries, thanks to America’s current appetite for olive oil. Half of all American cooks now consider olive oil a staple. Almost all olive oil produced in the United States is California grown.

“It was an honor to work on this inaugural California State Fair olive oil competition,” said Alexandra Devarenne, the contest’s chief judge. “Mother Nature sent the California olive oil producers a difficult year, but they rose to the challenge. We tasted many outstanding extra virgin olive oils that showcased the skills of the farmer and the miller, resulting in complex and delicious California olive oils that will be a joy to use at the table.”

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