News & Articles

  • Olive Festival in Oroville today blends history with the present

    OROVILLE — A festival that celebrates Oroville’s historic role in the olive industry and offers people an opportunity to learn about present-day growers will be held today in Oroville.
    Today from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m., the historic Ehmann Home will be the site of the third annual Butte County Olive Festival.

    Olives are a big part of Oroville’s history.

    Freda Ehmann settled in Oroville in 1898 and started the Ehmann Canning Co. She developed the olive canning process and is listed in “Who’s Who” as the “mother of the California ripe olive,” said event organizer Alberta Tracy Friday in the home’s cheery kitchen.

    “What better place to have it than the home of the woman who started it, the house that olives built?” she said.

    Tracy said the festival got its start three years ago when Roseville author and historian Richard Calhoun visited Oroville and said he wanted to do an olive festival.

    “We were going to just sell olives,” said Tracy. “There was nothing to eat then. We just had growers, vendors and card tables. We didn’t realize then what it was and what it could be.”

    The event has grown.

    Last year, around 800 people attended. Tracy said they hope 1,000 show up today.

    The Butte County Historical Society is sponsoring the festival in partnership with Feather Falls Casino.

    “This is good for Butte County Historical Society, good for Oroville and good for Butte County,” Tracy continued. “It’s going to get bigger and better every year.”

    There will beplenty of olive products. At least eight vendors will participate, including local olive growers and olive-oil producers.

    The Olive Festival will offer olive and olive-oil tastings, a beer tasting, live music and food. Tracy said the Historical Society will have a booth selling food for $5 a plate. The food will contain olives in the recipes, she said.

    Also, visitors can tour the Ehmann Home, and there will be drawings for prizes.

    “The fun starts in Oroville,” Tracy said. “It’s another thing to put Oroville on the map, and at the home of Mrs. Ehmann,” she said.

    Jeannie Bede said that without Freda Ehmann, “we wouldn’t have olives.”

    “It’s a great community event,” she added. “Come out and be involved. It’s a great event to share the history and bring the history to today.”

    Article source orovillemr.com
    By BARBARA ARRIGONI

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    Alberta Tracy (left) and Jeannie Bede fill display boxes with olive cans on Friday for the annual…

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    OROVILLE — A festival that celebrates Oroville’s historic role in the olive industry and offers people an opportunity to learn about present-day growers will be held today in Oroville. Today from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m., the historic Ehmann Home will be the site of the... 
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  • In Jaén, ‘Conquering Palates’ to Get a Fair Price for Olive Oil

    The more cuisines olive oil conquers in the world, the easier it will be to obtain a fair price for this product. – Francisco Reyes Martinez

    Admired for its production potential, questions have also been traditionally raised about the quality of the Jaén region’s oils. This reputation, which was perhaps deserved in the past, is completely unjustified nowadays.
    Proof of this lies in the growing number of awards which, year after year, all over the world, distinguish the excellence of its brands.

    The enormous efforts made by its olive and oil producing industry in recent years have contributed to this success, raising quality to the maximum, as has the drive provided by the Jaén County Council.

    Since his election as president of the Jaén County Council in June of 2011, we had only coincided with him at a small number of events.

    We were perfectly familiar with the vehemence of Felipe López, his predecessor in the position, in defending the interests of the olive tree and the oil from his land. However, we hadn’t had a chance for a good chat with Francisco Reyes yet. And so, with the excuse of the misfortunate legislation the EU was supposed to set in motion in January 2014, to oblige the HORECA channel to replace the traditional oil cruets with non-refillable and labelled packages, we decided to interview him.

    Just like the rest of us, in the course of his life Francisco Reyes has also come across the controversial oil cruets in numerous bars and restaurants throughout our country. A practice which, in his eyes, “undermines the prestige of quality oils by using recipients that do not do them justice.”

    This is why, even before the announcement of the new European measure, the Jaén County Council had already sponsored a campaign driven by the small farmers association, Unión de Pequeños Agricultores de Andalucía, among various restaurants in Jaén in an attempt to have them offer their oils solely in non-refillable and labelled packagings.

    In a surprising coincidence, just a few days after answering our questions, the European Union decided to block what, according to Francisco Reyes, would have been a response to a “series of requests and demands from the sector which, undoubtedly, would be positive for the olive oil producers.”

    We haven’t spoken to the president of the Jaén County Council again since the European Union made this decision, however something tells us that he can’t be very happy about it.

    It is no wonder that everyone identifies Jaén with olive oil, as it is the main production region not just in Spain but in the oil producing world. How is its relevance reflected in the characteristics that define the province?

    The image of Jaén, which is redolent of olive oil, is largely associated with its olive groves. Suffice to journey just a little into our territory to realise that the olive, that thousand-year old tree so closely associated with the Mediterranean, dominates practically the entire countryside. Indeed, over 60 million olive trees define the countryside and mountains of Jaén, from north to south and east to west of the province. Its omnipresence determines our economy, in which the olive sector represents over 15% of our Gross Domestic Product, we produce 28% of the world’s olive oil and 43% of Spain’s. Data that translates into returns of around 1 billion euros. In our province, which has over 600,000 hectares of land planted with olives trees, around 108,000 people are directly linked to this sector through the 66,000 registered farms, on which an average of 700,000 tonnes of olives are produced, which are pressed in over 300 mills. And the predominant varietal is the Picual, representing 95% of the total. From this olive, one of the best oils in the world is extracted, both in terms of flavour and in health benefits, as it is one of the oils with the highest oleic acid content.

    In the light of these figures, it is logical to assume that olive oil exerts an enormous influence on the everyday life of the people from Jaén. How does it specifically impact the social and cultural environment of the province?

    That’s certainly true, particularly in the small and medium-sized towns and villages, which constitute a majority in the province of Jaén. Here, the agricultural labour, the harvest and the cultivation of this tree mark the lives of its inhabitants. Although in recent years, a successful attempt has been made to diversify the productive activity in Jaén, there is no doubt that oil production is still one of our most relevant sectors, not just from an economic point of view, but also in terms of culture as, per se, it is a way of life with roots that date far back in time, which we have summarised in the term Olive Culture.

    Has the current economic situation affected the olive oil industry in Jaén? In what way?

    There is no question that the difficulties Spanish society is experiencing mean that all sectors, including olive oil, are suffering. But the small harvest of the last year has temporarily overshadowed the main problem we have been facing recently: the low prices that even fall below the profitability threshold. Since there is a smaller supply, the price has increased, but this year’s campaign will be less profitable for the oil producers and, above all, has led to the loss of over 6 million days of work, meaning this is a particularly tough situation for the thousands of Jaén families whose income depends directly on agriculture and for whom we at the Council have set up an Employment Plan with a budget of 7 million euro to partially relieve this loss of wages.

    From a purely physical plane, which peculiarities make up the Jaén olive landscape?

    Like I said before, the olive grove is present wherever you look in this province, to the extent that we always say it’s our fifth nature reserve. It is a humanized wood that is one-of-a-kind in the world, offering unique landscapes and orography, marked by endless rows of olive trees that spread throughout the plains, the mountains, close to the villages, the cities and even the most remote and hidden nooks and crannies.

    Some claim that the traditional olive groves, particularly those blanketing the mountain slopes, are not very profitable or competitive if compared to those cultivated intensively or super-intensively. Do you share this opinion?

    I think that rather than an opinion, this is a reality. The difficulties involved in harvesting these mountainous groves, or installing a watering system or simply doing the various agricultural tasks necessary, constitute an obstacle that ultimately affects the profit the farmer extracts from the olive tree in comparison to the flat stretches of farmland in which cultivation can be more intensive. This is why it is obvious that they are less profitable, but that should not make us forget the important social and economic function they fulfil in many of our municipalities, where they represent one of the main sources of income, which is why we always defend the need to preserve this mountain grove, because it contributes to maintaining the population in rural areas and because it is also important in terms of the environmental benefits it generates.

    A leader in terms of quantity, the province of Jaén also stands out for the increasingly-higher quality of its oils. What characteristics define them? How is the excellence of these oils certified?

    In Jaén, as I mentioned before, the Picual olive is the most commonly cultivated as it takes up approximately 95% of the olive-producing surface area, although in the area of Cazorla, the Royal varietal is also common. Its main characteristics reside in its aroma, which tends to be described as fruity, fresh and fragrant, while a slight bitterness predominates its flavour, with an intense taste of the actual olive itself, that leaves an exquisite and prolonged aftertaste. It is the olive type that is most resistant to oxidation, due to its higher polyphenol content. This guarantees its stability and preservation for a long period of time, one of the most important advantages of the Picual varietal, without neglecting the stronger presence of the healthy oleic acid. To guarantee its excellent quality, we boast some of the oldest Designations of Origin in Spain, the Sierra de Segura and also the Sierra de Cazorla. The Council works with these to raise awareness of the excellent oils produced in the province of Jaén.

    Jaén is known as a major producer of bulk oils. What percentage of the total production is made for this market? What types of oils are sold in this way? What is the current trend?

    The estimates indicate that around 80% of the oil produced is sold in bulk, mainly to the export market. In general, the olive oils exported tend to be the lower quality oils because normally a far higher percentage of extra virgin olive oils are packaged. The current, and also desirable, trend is for the oils produced to be of an increasingly high quality, and for both the packaging and the sale to take place directly at origin, because this will generate more added value, a higher profit for the producers and, as a result of this, more jobs will be created in the sector. For this to happen, it is also essential for us to continue to promote this product throughout the world, emphasising the benefits it offers to human health and its multiple uses in gastronomy, because the more palates we conquer, the easier it will be to receive a fair price for the oil that should at the very least cover the farmers’ production costs.

    You are a teacher by profession and so you must at some point, even if only in your own mind, have assessed the knowledge level of the children –and those who are not so much children- from your province about olive oil. In your opinion, what is their view of this product so inherent to them? Is this vision real?

    In the province of Jaén at least, the olive oil knowledge level is more complete than in other areas of Spain. Even so, and in general terms, I believe the term used to define the quality of the oils makes it overly difficult to distinguish between the best and the not so good. Olive oil is considered a top quality product, with infinite uses in the kitchen, an excellent flavour and it is more and more acknowledged as a healthy and essential foodstuff of the Mediterranean Diet. This is made increasingly clear by the growing number of scientific studies, the latest of which, called Predimed, clearly shows that this type of diet, supplemented with olive oil, reduces the chance of suffering a cardiovascular disease by 30%. This is the view of olive oil that we at the Council are intent on promoting among various groups, such as housewives, school children, restaurateurs, distributors … all with a view to conquering more and more cuisines around the world.

    Up close and personal:

    An extra virgin: Oro de Cánava
    An olive varietal: Picual
    An olive grove landscape: The valley of the river Cuadros and the mountains of Sierra Mágina.
    A restaurant that takes special interest in olive oil: Juanito, in Baeza.
    A dish with olive oil: French fries with eggs.
    A wish for olive oil: For the producers to receive a fair price.

    Francisco Reyes Martínez

    Born in the Jaén town of Bedmar, on July 10 in 1962. Although a teacher by profession, politics began to make a decisive mark on his life in 1987, the year in which he was elected councilor in his native municipality. One year later, he became mayor, a position he held until 1995.

    Between 1993 and 2000, he was also regional councilor, a position he combined with that of vice-president of this same institution for a while, and was also responsible for local Tourism and Development.

    Almost at the same time, in 1996 he went on to take up the role of organisation secretary of the Provincial Government of the PSOE party in Jaén. For another four years, he also combined this function with that of secretary general of the Local Branch of this political party in Bedmar.

    In the year 2000, he was appointed regional representative of the Andalusian government in Jaén, a position he occupied until the year 2008, when he was elected national councilor.

    In 2004, he began his role as vice secretary general of the PSOE in Jaén, until he gave up this facet to become secretary general of his political party in Jaén. At present, he combines this position with that of PSOE representative for the legal jurisdiction of Jaén.

    Since June 24 2011, Francisco Reyes Martínez has also been the president of the Jaén County Council.

    By Alberto Matos, Olivarama
    Olive Oil Times articles are presented in their entirety and are unedited by Olive Oil Market.

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    The more cuisines olive oil conquers in the world, the easier it will be to obtain a fair price for this product. – Francisco Reyes Martinez Admired for its production potential, questions have also been traditionally raised about the quality of the Jaén region’s oils. This... 
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  • Olive oil: Drizzle it on any food to enhance flavor

    Olive oil is the staff of life to people in the Mediterranean.

    Every nation that borders that great sea makes olive oil and each claims theirs is the best. We most often think of Italian oil as being the wisest choice, but the Italians are in fact masters of marketing and produce not much more than 20 percent of Europe’s oil.

    If you see a bottle of oil that claims to have been bottled in Italy you can be pretty sure it was produced in Spain, trucked to Italy and only bottled there.

    In the grocery we most often encounter virgin and extra virgin oil. Virgin means the olives were pressed and no chemicals were used; extra virgin means only that it is of the highest quality. First cold press indicates that the olives were pressed when the fruit was cold, generally below 77 degrees, but there is no second pressing of virgin oil.

    The quality and flavor of extra virgin olive oil varies tremendously, as indicated by prices. You can find oil from $10 a bottle to $100 a bottle, but often what you are buying is a fancy bottle and middle of the road oil. The best bet is to shop around and find an oil you like. Remember that the oil you buy in the big box store is fine for cooking, but it is not of the quality you would like for drizzling on your favorite pasta or bruschetta.

    There are some very good oils made in the USA. California Olive Ranch comes very highly rated and not excessively pricey; try their Limited Reserve or Arbosana EVO. It can be ordered online but quantities are limited. You may also want to try oils from Lucero, Katz or Clearly.

    Once you’ve found that special oil, you might want to buy a few bottles at a time, especially if you are ordering online.

    Here are a few things to remember about storing olive oil: Olive oil has about a two-year shelf life when bottled. It deteriorates when exposed to sunlight, so keep it in a dark pantry and try to keep it below 70 degrees. Once opened and exposed to the air it will start to decline in quality and flavor. What a fine excuse to use even more.

    Olive oil will enhance the flavor of almost anything. Try drizzling it on a just-grilled steak, over sautéed shrimp, scrambled eggs or of course over almost any fresh salad. Don’t get carried away and overdo it; it doesn’t take much to do the job when using a fragrant oil.

    This is the classic Italian bruschetta, or at least one version of it, and it does require a wood-burning fire to get it right.

    SIMPLE BRUSCHETTA

    1 loaf crusty country style bread

    4 cloves of garlic

    Best quality olive oil

    Salt and pepper

    This is a great recipe to make when you have fired up the grill for something else and want to serve bruschetta as a first course. Slice the bread thickly and grill over the hot fire, turning once, until it is toasted, but not quite finished. Remove and rub the bread thoroughly with the garlic and then return to the grill to finish. Remove and drizzle with your favorite oil, add just a pinch of salt and pepper if you like and serve immediately. Pick a nice Italian red to go with this appetizer, such as Col Di Sasso or a good Chianti.

    This is another very simple recipe that’s quite good as a starter. It can be made in advance and can await your guests as they arrive at the table. Who wants guests to sit down to an empty table?

    ROASTED GARLIC

    1 cup olive oil

    1-2 whole garlic bulb

    2 sprigs rosemary

    2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar

    Crusty bread

    Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Cut the top half inch of the garlic bulb off. Add the oil to a small oven-proof pot with a lid and then add the garlic and rosemary. Drizzle the balsamic in, place the lid on and bake until the garlic is soft and fragrant, about 30 minutes. All to cool then show your guests how to squeeze a garlic toe out and use a slice of bread to dip into the mixture and top with the garlic.

    Again, serve with a robust Italian red wine.

    This simple recipe is sometimes referred to as a Tuscan stew. What makes this recipe work is the drizzling of good olive oil at the very end. This might best be served over thick slices of crusty country style bread.

    Note: Don’t be afraid to use canned precooked beans. Just make sure to rinse them to get the goop and excess salt off.

    WHITE BEAN STEW

    1 loaf crusty country style bread

    3 cups prepared white or cannellini beans

    1/4 cup chopped smoked sausage

    3/4 cup chopped red onion

    1/2 cup chopped red and green bell peppers

    4-6 cloves chopped garlic

    Olive oil for cooking

    Better olive oil for drizzling

    Parmigiano-Reggiano for grating

    Fresh ground black pepper

    Herbs de Provence or dried oregano

    Sauté the chopped sausage in a little oil until well browned, remove from the pan and add the onions and bell pepper. Sauté for 5 minutes, remembering to season as you go. Add the garlic and cook 1 minute more, now add the beans, taste and season again. If it appears a little dry add a little chicken stock or water. Simmer for 5 minutes. Cut thick slices of bread, toast in a little olive oil, then top with the stew. Drizzle generously with olive oil and garnish with plenty of freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano.

    Article source: sunherald.com

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    Olive oil is the staff of life to people in the Mediterranean. Every nation that borders that great sea makes olive oil and each claims theirs is the best. We most often think of Italian oil as being the wisest choice, but the Italians are in fact masters of marketing and produce... 
    Read More →
  • Olivari Olive Oil & its social media campaign in Facebook

    Olivari Olive Oil, a brand of one of the world’s largest olive oil producers, has embarked on an ambitious social media campaign to stake a claim in the United States market.

    The campaign, which began in February — will run for a year, and is by Twofifteen McCann, part of the Interpublic Group — entails a communication issued each weekday, ranging from videos to recipes, that celebrates “little things” both directly and indirectly related to Olivari and the campaign’s theme.

    Olivari is packaged in Rome, N.Y., by the American arm of the Sovena Group, which is based in Lisbon; Sovena USA also supplies private-label olive oil, as well as GEM, Tri-Fri and Puglia olive oils, to American retailers and food service distributors. Sovena USA introduced Olivari — a blend of many Mediterranean oils that it describes as “natural and fresh olive oil, with a fruity and slightly sweet delicate aroma” in the American market in 2009. Although Olivari was initially distributed only in New England, it is now sold nationally at retailers like Walmart, Shop Rite, Stop & Shop and Food Lion. There are four varieties of Olivari: classic, extra virgin, extra virgin organic and extra light.

    Tomas Tavares de Almeida, director of marketing for Sovena USA, said the American market generated one-fifth of the Sovena Group’s $1.4 billion in annual global sales. At present, only 5 percent of United States sales come from Olivari, though it generates more profit on a per-unit basis for Sovena than its American private-label brands.

    Mr. de Almeida said Olivari “had a good story to tell, but we didn’t know exactly how to tell it.” To do this, it turned to Twofifteen McCann; the Lisbon office of McCann does advertising for another Sovena Group brand, Oliveira da Serra.

    Scott Duchon, chief creative officer of San Francisco-based Twofifteen McCann, said the “little things” theme on which the new campaign is based came about because of the “so many little things Sovena does in the olive oil making process. We decided to celebrate that.”

    Among the “little things” he said differentiate Olivari from other olive oils are the sustainable planting and fertilizing processes Sovena uses to grow olive trees, the care with which its olives are harvested and processed, its state-of-the-art mills and its pop-up bottle pourer, which was the cooking category winner in the 2011 Product of the Year USA contest.

    To communicate these differences, the agency created a new Facebook page for Olivari, which is the home of the campaign’s social media program, “One year of little.” In an introductory letter on the page, Olivari said, “Over the next year we’re going to attempt to earn your friendship. For one year, we are going to celebrate the ‘little things’ in life by offering you a series of gifts. A variety of small, entertaining, informative, rewarding and surprising gifts. It will be a collection of little things, that, we hope, will get you to like us.”

    Mr. de Almeida said the campaign was directed at women age 25 to 50 who would like to live more healthfully using a Mediterranean diet and products.

    Among the dozens of communications issued so far in the campaign are series of short films that celebrate smaller, lesser-known holidays, like “Thank a Mailman Day,” and small, fleeting moments like waiting for a date. There is a series of documentaries that profile people who take special care in their craft, as Olivari does with its olive oil production, like Kirsten Muenster, a Bay Area jewelry designer. In addition, there are videos and photos for “little recipes” that incorporate Olivari, for example, for bruschetta, vinaigrettes and marinades, as well as “Mr. O” cartoons that so far have celebrated April Fools’ Day and welcomed spring.

    All of the campaign’s content resides on Olivari’s Facebook page; depending on the message, it can also be found on Twitter, YouTube and Pinterest. Although much of it is created by Twofifteen McCann, some was commissioned by the agency.

    The campaign’s latest initiative starts Monday, when bloggers, selected and paid by Olivari and Twofifteen McCann, will begin blogging about topics relevant to the campaign’s audience. As is the case with the campaign’s daily messaging, not all blog posts will be food-related. The bloggers will be free to use the campaign’s existing content as inspiration for posts relevant to their own audiences. Mr. de Almeida said the campaign — whose budget is $1.3 million — “needed to get legs” and gain momentum before bloggers could participate in it.

    He called the campaign “a very risky move, but it has been very good for us. We’ve doubled our U.S. sales in six months and increased distribution by 33 percent. Retailers love to hear about our campaign. It’s a compelling story told in a different way.”

    He also said there was a “little scare” that the Olivari campaign could cannibalize sales of other Sovena olive oils in the United States. He said, however, that Sovena’s mission “is to bring olive oil to every person in the world. We don’t care how we do it, though we prefer to do it through a brand. There’s brand loyalty out there.”

    By  JANE L. LEVERE
    Published: June 17, 2013
    Article source www.nytimes.com
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    Olivari Olive Oil, a brand of one of the world’s largest olive oil producers, has embarked on an ambitious social media campaign to stake a claim in the United States market.The campaign, which began in February — will run for a year, and is by Twofifteen McCann, part of... 
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  • Gaea conquers the first prize in the European Business Awards2013!

    20130616-201141.jpgGreek olive oil producer company Gaea’s vision to be the absolute leader in the category of Mediterranean Greek cuisine-meze in the international fine foods arena, was vindicated today with Gaea’s triumph in the European Business Awards 2013 in the import-export category, the 1st Greek company to win in this prestigious competition.

    The judging committee chose Gaea amongst 15,000 companies from 34 European countries, jointly representing a turnover of 1,2 trillion euro, for its innovation, social responsibility, ethics and values. The award gala event was held a few hours ago in Istanbul, and Gaea’s award came to emphasize the sustainable growth of the company in the international markets.

    Within a difficult global economic environment Gaea has managed to become a role model of development in both the Greek and international business communities. In addition, it managed to demonstrate that a Greek company can stand out internationally, by demonstrating strong commitment to business excellence and to the production of high quality products.

    GAEA’S EXTRA VIRGIN OLIVE OILS

    Olive oil in Greece, which dates back 4000 years, is globally acknowledged for its purity and exceptional taste. More than 80% of the Greek olive oil is extra virgin, which is the top-ranked classification category in the world. This constitutes Greece as the world’s largest producer of extra virgin olive oil.

    Gaea’s extra virgin olive oil’s superior quality is appreciated by the international trade, which is the reason why Gaea’s exports to all markets are constantly increasing at a fast pace.

    Moreover, Gaea produces the 1st Extra Virgin Olive Oils in the world that have been certified Carbon Neutral!

    Derive from the first cold pressing of fresh olives with mechanical means and without any refining process whatsoever, thus being the natural juice of the olive fruit

    Crushing and olive oil extraction process is performed at cold temperatures, with the max temperature being 27o C, to maintain its rich, fruity, intense aroma and its distinctive green colour
    Gaea has a strict policy of avoiding extracts or additional flavorings

    Gaea constantly experiments, bringing traditional and ancient recipes back to life. Gaea’s special series of flavoured olive oils are the result of the natural blending between real herbs and olive oil
    Gaea only bottles the best extra virgin olive oils from selected areas of Greece

    The DOP / PGI (“Protected Designation of Origin”/ “Protected Geographical Indication”) sign on each bottle certifies not only the origin by also the top quality of the olive oil

    For these reasons, Gaea’s olive oils are the most awarded olive oils internationally in recognition of their superior quality and taste.

    DOP / PGI EXTRA VIRGIN OLIVE OILS

    D.O.P./ P.G.I. Designation – “Protected Designation of Origin”/ “Protected Geographical Indication” is the best certification for the top quality of olive oil.
    All DOP / PGI areas are defined and issued by the European Union. This helps promote agricultural products and foods of special value due to the way or place of production.
    Each bottle gets a specific number that is fully traceable.
    DOP / PGI certifies that the olive oil was produced in a particular area of Greece and is obtained exclusively from a particular variety of olives.

    EXTRA VIRGIN OLIVE OILS WITH NATURAL HERBS
    Since antiquity, natural herbs were used to give aroma and flavor to olive oil. Gaea’s flavoured olive oils are the successful result of the natural blending between real herbs and the olive oil. Extra Virgin Olive oil, is 100% naturally blended with fine herbs of Greek nature.

    Gaea’s Awards
    “Olive Japan 2013” Silver Medal for Gaea Kritsa Extra Virgin Olive Oil
    “New York-International Olive Oil Competition 2013” Gaea Kritsa-Fresh and Gaea-Vranas Extra Virgin Olive Oil among the best olive oils in the world
    “Product of the Year 2013” in Germany for PGI Hania Extra Virgin Olive Oil

    Article sources:
    businessawardseurope

     

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    Greek olive oil producer company Gaea’s vision to be the absolute leader in the category of Mediterranean Greek cuisine-meze in the international fine foods arena, was vindicated today with Gaea’s triumph in the European Business Awards 2013 in the import-export category,... 
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  • Olive Oil Quality Seals? USDA Quality Monitoring Program

    More consumers are learning that the taste and health benefits of olive oil are closely tied to its quality and freshness, however there is still little the average shopper can do to be sure she’s buying a bottle of EVOO that measures up.

    Tasting the oil before buying it might help, but studies have shown most people still choose old, rancid olive oil in taste tests, because that’s what they’re used to. Harvest and “best before” dates can indicate freshness, but they provide no assurance that the oil is free of defects and adulteration.

    One thing you can do is look for medal stickers from a major competition, such as the New York International Olive Oil Competition, to identify this year’s award-winning extra virgin olive oils.

    You might also look for olive oils that bear a designation of origin (DOP) label, which indicates it is monitored by the region that administers the DOP and must adhere to its standards and exhibit certain qualites.

    Or, you could look for a quality seal.

    To help provide consumers some additional measure of confidence in a confusing market, a number of quality seal programs have been developed that monitor and certify the quality of olive oils displaying their stickers.

    Quality seal programs are backed with taste (sensory) testing and chemical standards, and each has its own set of pass/fail benchmarks. One program, the USDA Quality Monitoring Program, also includes regular, unannounced facility visits and traceability audits.

    The chemistry can be confusing. But the aim of the seal programs is to monitor, in the absence of a common standard, various chemical and taste parameters so we don’t have to all be experts.

    A review of the programs offered by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), the North American Olive Oil Association, the California Olive Oil Council and the new Extra Virgin Alliance bears similarities, but no two are quite the same.

    USDA Quality Monitoring Program

    The USDA standards were revised in 2010 and are based on the International Olive Council (IOC) standards, except for differences in linolenic acid and campesterol limits. However, the IOC has since made revisions, including adding tests for the sum of fatty acid methyl and ethyl esters and phenols content. “The U.S. Standards do not include these changes,” said Pamela Stanziani of the USDA Agricultural Marketing Service, although she also noted that the standards documents can be revised “in partnership with industry members …to reflect modern business practices.”

    In 2012, the USDA extended its Quality Monitoring Program to include olive oil. As part of the program, USDA inspectors conduct chemical and taste testing, as well as regular audits of the company’s systems and procedures. “They look at every component of a blend, they audit things like sanitation, security, traceability and countries of origin,” said Luisito Cercaci, vice president of quality, research and development at Pompeian, Inc., the first and only company so far to attain the QMP approval. “USDA controls the entire system, gaining a deeper knowledge and becoming more rigorous over time,” he said.

    North American Olive Oil Association Quality Seal

    The North American Olive Oil Association (NAOOA) follows IOC standards in its tests including sensory analyses and an array of chemical tests. “If you want to be sure about the full picture of authenticity and quality, there aren’t any shortcuts. You have to run them all,” said Eryn Balch, executive vice president of the NAOOA.

    NAOOA’s quality control program includes regular testing of its members’ oils, purchased from the marketplace, using standards that are “more stringent than the USDA’s,” said Balch. The key differences between the two sets of standards are different pass levels for linolenic acid and campesterol, and the range of primary authenticity tests. Some of the authenticity tests performed by NAOOA are “secondary” or “Table II” tests under the USDA parameters, meaning that the USDA only performs them if certain components in the first round of tests fail. Balch said the tests should be considered primary, to effectively monitor adulteration.

    California Olive Oil Council

    The California Olive Council (COOC) tests oil samples submitted by producers for extra virgin quality and authenticity. The COOC test has both sensory and chemical elements, though fewer chemical analyses than the USDA or NAOOA. The COOC will be reviewing its requirements this summer and may add the PPP (pyropheophytin) and DAGs (1-2 diacylglycerols) tests, said Executive Director Patricia Darragh. Darragh said that PPP and DAGs are “very important tools in the chemical evaluation for grading oil” and that it is more feasible to do the tests “now that more labs have completed the requirements” for doing them.

    Extra Virgin Alliance

    The Extra Virgin Alliance (EVA) is a newly-launched non-profit trade association with a goal of restoring consumer trust in the marketplace. Producers worldwide can sign on with EVA and have their product samples drawn from store shelves for testing.

    EVA’s standards are based primarily on the Australian Standard for Olive and Olive-Pomace Oils and on commercial practices in Europe, rather than the IOC standards. “IOC authenticity standards for sterols and fatty acid are designed for EU climates and certain high quality oils grown in different climates can fail the test,” explained EVA co-founder Alexandra Kicenik Devarenne.

    EVA’s free fatty acid and peroxide limits are lower than other programs and the PPP and DAGs tests are required. Kicenik Devarenne noted that EVA’s standards “will evolve over time as data is gathered from the marketplace.”

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    JUNE 13 2013 | FILED IN: OLIVE OIL WORLD
    By Denise Johnson and Nancy Flagg

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    More consumers are learning that the taste and health benefits of olive oil are closely tied to its quality and freshness, however there is still little the average shopper can do to be sure she’s buying a bottle of EVOO that measures up. Tasting the oil before buying it might... 
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  • Terra Olivo 2013 - first results & Awards

    Read also: Awards TerraOlivo 2013 and Greek Olive Oils Won 23 Awards in TerraOlivo

    Terra Olivo 2013 ended a some days ago in the ancient city of Jerusalem, on the slopes of the Mount of Olives, the International Competition of Extra Virgin Olive Oil “TerraOlivo“, 2013 (Mediterranean International Extra Virgin Olive Oil Competition).

    The registration and the receipt of the samples of extra virgin olive oil had started on January 1 and ended on April 30 at the offices of the contest in Jerusalem.

    More than 500 extra virgin olive oils participated from Argentina, Chile, Croatia, Israel, Italy, Spain, Greece, Turkey, Tunisia, Lebanon, South Africa , United States of America, Uruguay, Peru, Slovenia and Portugal.

    The judgement was made by sensory evaluation with completely “blind” method, as no information nor the olive oil bottle label was disclosed to the jurors. The jurors lists also available at the website of TERRAOLIVO

    The major awards in TERRAOLIVO are, “Gran Prestige Gold” (over 86 points), “Prestige Gold” (over 76 points), and “Gold” (over 65 points).

    Awarded at the competition in Jerusalem. In confirmation of the very high quality standard of our production we were awarded the prizes:

    * Prestige gold for the “Laureanum / Magnificent” (76-85.99 points)
    * Gold for the Greek “Koroneiki” (65-75 point)

    There were 3 entries from JAPAN, Shodoshima and 1 entry among those 3 is the entry to “Flavored Oil” category. It is our great pleasure to annouce all those 3 entries from JAPAN won the “Gran Prestige Gold” , “Prestige Gold”, and”Gold”. Winners of those Japanese entry is as follows;

    GRAN PRESTIGE GOLD (Flavored Olive Oil Category)
    Nakayoshi Shoji Co., Ltd. “i’s Life Green Lemon Olive Oil
    PRESTIGE GOLD
    IIJI Olive Co., Ltd. “IIJI OLIVE EXTRA VIRGIN OLIVE OIL LUCCA Variety”

    GOLD
    IIJI Olive Co., Ltd. ”IIJI OLIVE EXTRA VIRGIN OLIVE OIL MISSION Variety”
    The competition Terra Olivo 2013 was carried out in the oldest area of origin of olive oil. The most important Israeli and international judges are part of the official panel of tasters.

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    Terra Olivo photos stream

    Read also: Awards TerraOlivo 2013 and Greek Olive Oils Won 23 Awards in TerraOlivo

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    Read also: Awards TerraOlivo 2013 and Greek Olive Oils Won 23 Awards in TerraOlivo Terra Olivo 2013 ended a some days ago in the ancient city of Jerusalem, on the slopes of the Mount of Olives, the International Competition of Extra Virgin Olive Oil “TerraOlivo“, 2013 (Mediterranean... 
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  • Greek Olive Oil Promoted Abroad

    Α project of a total budget of 5,922,129.14 euros for the promotion of Greek olive oil to the markets of the USA, Canada, Australia and Norway, is going to run after the contract signed between SEVITEL and the Alternate Minister of Rural Development and Food, Maximus Charakopoulos.

    This program is a continuation of the “program of informing and promoting European olive oils in third countries outside the EU – Great Olive Oil”. The first annual phase of the co-funded project by 50% of the EU is implemented.

    “We continue to support quality Greek olive oil. We aim at the entrance of the standard Greek olive oil in the international markets, ” Charakopoulos said, noting that,” We have to stop exporting bulk products. Only the branded products have an identity and can be established in consumer preferences both in the domestic market and in third countries.”

    greekreporter

     

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    Α project of a total budget of 5,922,129.14 euros for the promotion of Greek olive oil to the markets of the USA, Canada, Australia and Norway, is going to run after the contract signed between SEVITEL and the Alternate Minister of Rural Development and Food, Maximus Charakopoulos. This... 
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  • Researchers Recommend Vegetable Oils High in Omega 6

    U.S. researchers reviewed 15 studies and said they could find no evidence that a diet high in linoleic acid (omega-6) had any links to inflammation in the body. “Our evidence does suggest that you can achieve a heart-healthy diet by using soybean, canola, corn and sunflower oils instead of animal-based fats when cooking,” they noted in their review that was published in the Journal of the Academy of Food and Nutrition (formerly known as the Journal of the American Dietetic Association).

    Canola oil was included in the list of recommended vegetable oils even though it is not such a rich source of omega-6 compared to other vegetable oils, with 20 percent of fatty acids being from linoleic acid, compared to 60 percent in corn oil.

    Olive oil was not mentioned anywhere in the study.

    Olive oil is in fact, low in linoleic acid with an average of 10 percent of fats coming from this particular fatty acid. For this reason it is recommended for cooking since it helps keep a balanced ratio of the two fatty acids: omega-6 and omega-3.

    Most researchers agree that there are too much omega-6 fatty acids in western diets and not enough omega-3 fatty acids. Omega-6 and Omega-3 are both essential fatty acids, which means that our body needs to get them through our diet. Both fatty acids have beneficial qualities, though they need to be somewhat in balance in our diet.

    Currently in most western diets the amount of omega-6 fatty acids is 15 to 50 times higher than omega-3. This is problematic as omega-6 fatty acids compete for some of the same enzymes as omega-3, and interfere with the health benefits of the omega-3 fatty acids.

    The high intake of omega-6 fatty acids in the diet appears to come mainly from the consumption of processed foods, which contain several types of vegetable oils high in omega-6 fatty acids such as linoleic acid. Omega-6 has been associated with inflammation in some studies but not in others.

    Important points:

    As the researchers mention, the studies they reviewed were small, with the largest one having 60 participants and some having only 6.
    The studies included only healthy subjects.
    The research was funded by ILSI (International Life Sciences Institute North America Technical Committee on Dietary Lipids), a nonprofit science organization whose members are mainly food and beverage, agricultural, chemical, and pharmaceutical companies. Members of the specific committee include Monsanto (creates corn, canola and soybean seeds among others) as well as other large food companies.
    The main researcher G. H. Johnson provides a statement of conflict of interest that he has provided consulting services to the Monsanto Company and Bunge Limited during the past 5 years.
    .
    Apart from a potential conflict of interest in the study, the reality is that western diets contain too many omega-6 fatty acids and to suggest using vegetable oils such as soybean and corn oil that are also rich in omega-6 fatty acids would be compounding the problem.

    A high ratio of omega-6 to omega-3 fatty acids has been associated with increased risk of prostate and breast cancer, increased risk of Alzheimer’s and depressive symptoms as well as problems with reproduction.

    The Mediterranean diet is an example of a diet that has a healthier ratio of omega-6 to omega-3 fatty acids, most likely due its use of fresh food (very low intake of processed food products), olive oil as the main source of fat (low in linoleic acid), and high intake of fatty fish rich in omega-3 such as sardines and anchovies.

    Sources:

    Effect of Dietary Linoleic Acid on Markers of Inflammation in Healthy Persons: A Systematic Review of Randomized Controlled Trials
    International Life Sciences Institute North America Technical Committee on Dietary Lipids
    The Importance of the Omega-6/Omega-3 Fatty Acid Ratio in Cardiovascular Disease and Other Chronic Diseases
    Depressive symptoms, omega-6:omega-3 fatty acids, and inflammation in older adults
    A Low Dietary Ratio of Omega-6 to Omega-3 Fatty Acids May Delay Progression of Prostate Cancer
    The Omega-6/Omega-3 Ratio and Dementia or Cognitive Decline: A Systematic Review on Human Studies and Biological Evidence
    Do both heterocyclic amines and omega-6 polyunsaturated fatty acids contribute to the incidence of breast cancer in postmenopausal women of the Malmö diet and cancer cohort?
    Modulation of prostate cancer genetic risk by omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids

    By Elena Paravantes
    Olive Oil Times Contributor | Reporting from Athens

     

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    U.S. researchers reviewed 15 studies and said they could find no evidence that a diet high in linoleic acid (omega-6) had any links to inflammation in the body. “Our evidence does suggest that you can achieve a heart-healthy diet by using soybean, canola, corn and sunflower... 
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  • 1

    Value of Greek exports increased by 13.6%

    The total value of exports-dispatches for the 12-month time period of May 2012 – April 2013 increased by 12,0% compared to the corresponding 12-month time period of May 2011 – April 2012, the Hellenic Statistical Authority announced.

    The total value of imports-arrivals for the 12-month time pe riod of May 2012 – April 2013 decreased by 1,2% compared to the corresponding 12-month time period of May 20 11 – April 2012. The total value of exports-dispatches in April 2013 amounted to 2476,7 million euros against 2180,3 million euros in April 2012, recordi ng an increase of 13,6%.
    The total value of exports-dispatches for the 12-month time period of May 2012 – April 2013 increased by 12,0% compared to the corresponding 12-month time period of May 2011 -April 2012.

    source: Capital.gr

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    The total value of exports-dispatches for the 12-month time period of May 2012 – April 2013 increased by 12,0% compared to the corresponding 12-month time period of May 2011 – April 2012, the Hellenic Statistical Authority announced. The total value of imports-arrivals for... 
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  • Moroccan olive oil

    Moroccan olive oil producers say Spain should not be so scared of a wider EU-Morocco free trade deal – at least for now – because the United States market is their main target.

    Spain’s olive oil sector is in furor over the plan, which would eliminate an EU customs duty (currently about €1.25 per kilo) on Moroccan olive oil and restrict to 2000 tons the amount of EU oil allowed to enter Morocco tariff-free.

    The European Parliament ratified the proposal earlier this month by 369 votes to 225, with most of its Spanish members voting no. There is now talk of a Spanish appeal to Europe’s Court of Justice.

    Under the heading, “Andalusian oil at the crossroads,” national newspaper El País reports that the Andalusian Federation of Agricultural Cooperative Enterprises (FAECA) described the agreement as a “disaster” for the Spanish olive oil sector. Another agricultural organization, the UPA, said it would cause the loss of thousands of jobs and farms.

    “It will be Moroccan imports that determine the competitiveness, prices and future of farmers in Andalusia because we won’t be able to compete with the slave wages in Morocco and…breaches of plant protection and food safety regulations,” claimed Agustín Rodríguez, UPA general secretary for Andalusia.

    But from Casablanca, Othmane Aqallal, managing director of Atlas Olive Oils, told Olive Oil Times that the US, not Europe, was the main export destination of Morocco’s bulk olive oil.

    “The free trade agreement will not hurt European producers much in the short term. Moroccan exports to Europe have been low these last four years. We did not export more than 4000 tons per year to Europe. Morocco’s real export market for olive oil is the US, where last year it exported around 30,000 tons. However, in the long run, Europeans may suffer, relatively, if Morocco continues to expand its olive plantation surface like it did in the last five years,” Aqallal said.

    As for bottled olive oil, the agreement would have very little impact because Morocco exports less than 5 percent of its olive oil in this format, Aqallal said. “Also, Morocco’s main exports of bottled olive oil are intended for the ethnic Arab market. So with or without this free trade agreement, the ethnic market is the traditional buyer of Moroccan olive oil.”

    Moroccan production soaring

    According to International Olive Council (IOC) forecasts, Morocco was set to double its olive oil production to 150,000 tons in 2010-11 while world-leader Spain was expected to weigh in with 1.37 million tons.

    Morocco plans to achieve olive oil production of 340,000 tons by 2020. It is among the world’s biggest exporters of table olives and ranks about sixth or seventh for olive oil, with Italy one of its main buyers. In recent years some Spanish supermarket chains have faced criticism for sourcing some of their store brand olive oil – often used as a loss leader – from Morocco.

    United States

    Last year the San Francisco Chronicle reported the concerns of Californian olive growers over US agricultural aid to Morocco. Local growers told the paper that California had been “battling Morocco and Spain for the black table olive and olive oil markets in this country for more than a decade.”

    Morocco already has a free-trade agreement with the US.

    Sources:

    Spanish newspaper El País (in Spanish)
    European Parliament
    San Francisco Chronicle

    By Julie Butler
    Olive Oil Times Contributor | Reporting from Barcelona

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    Moroccan olive oil producers say Spain should not be so scared of a wider EU-Morocco free trade deal – at least for now – because the United States market is their main target. Spain’s olive oil sector is in furor over the plan, which would eliminate an EU customs duty... 
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  • World olive oil forecasts presented at IOC Economic Committee meeting

    World olive oil forecasts presented at IOC Economic Committee meeting held in Madrid, Spain, on 28 May 2013

    World production saw the best crop year ever in 2011/12 when it reached 3 377 500 t, but in the current 2012/13 season it looks set to be 26 pc lower, dropping to a similar level as in 2002/03. This drop in aggregate output is primarily due to a decrease of 1 006 600 t in Spain’s production, down by 62 pc from the season before. As a result, the production figure of the EU/27 countries taken as a whole is 919 500 t lower (-38%) although Greece shows an increase of 22 pc. Among the other member countries of the IOC, Tunisia stands out with a 22 pc rise in output in 2012/13. With a 30 pc increase in its level of production, Chile is noteworthy among the non-IOC member countries.

    Estimated at 2 954 000 t, world consumption in 2012/13 is expected to be 5 pc lower than the previous crop year. The biggest drop is located chiefly in the EU countries, where the estimated aggregate decrease is 12 pc. Consumption looks poised to fall by 15 pc in the chief producing countries of the EU (Spain, Italy and Greece) and by 10 pc in Portugal. Turkey is the country where consumption increases the most among the IOC Members. Outside the IOC countries, the expected 4 pc increase in U.S. consumption by the end of the season is noteworthy.

    Looking at the data available for 2012/13, world imports are expected to expand by 3 pc versus 2011/12 to reach 790 000 t. This level may be even higher, judging by the major importers’ data for the first six months of the season. Lower production in 2012/13 is forcing the EU countries, Spain particularly, to import from outside the EU. Imports by the United States account for 40 pc of total world imports in 2012/13 and already show 4 pc growth on the season before.

    World olive oil exports hit an all-time high in 2011/12 when they reached 801 500 t, with Spain in the lead in terms of both intra- and extra-EU exports, but they are expected to go down by 1 pc (793 000 t) in 2012/13. Notably, IOC member countries account for 96 pc of world exports. As only to be expected due to its lower output, exports by Spain are expected to go down in 2012/13 from season-before levels.
    End-of season stocks are estimated to be 45 pc lower.

    Extra virgin olive oil: Prices in Spain started to climb sharply in late July 2012, reaching €2.64/kg by the third week of September. They then switched course in the second week of October, dropping until the second week of December when they reached €3.02/kg. They continued to oscillate around this level until the second week of March, at which point they started to descend again. They now lie at €2.74/kg, thus showing 54 pc growth on year-ago prices. In Italy, they rose from the low of €2.61/kg recorded in the last week of November to €3.25/kg in the last week of May 2013, at which point they dipped to €3.16/kg, where they held steady. This translates into 33 pc growth on the same period a season earlier (see Graph 1).

    Prices in Greece did not experience a similar range of increase from July 2012 onwards, probably because of higher expected production. They went up from €2.04/kg to only €2.36/kg between the last week of December 2012 and the last week of May 2013, equating with a 28 pc rise. Prices in the three markets (Spain, Italy and Greece) decreased in recent weeks but seem to be steadying.

    Reed complete report at internationaloliveoil

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    World olive oil forecasts presented at IOC Economic Committee meeting held in Madrid, Spain, on 28 May 2013 World production saw the best crop year ever in 2011/12 when it reached 3 377 500 t, but in the current 2012/13 season it looks set to be 26 pc lower, dropping to a similar... 
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  • U.S. Continues to Dominate World Olive Oil Imports

    The United States docked two in every five tons of olive oil imported globally in the first six months of this season, according to the latest market newsletter from the International Olive Council.

    And the huge American market continues to swell – with total imports of olive oil and olive pomace oil for October 2012–March 2013 in line to rise four percent on last season.

    The U.S. imported 33,208 tons in March alone, compared to 6,592 tons in Brazil – currently the world’s second biggest non-European olive oil buyer – where imports are up 16 percent, and 4,184 tons in Japan, where they’ve grown 29 percent.

    The Chinese market, which unloaded 1,766 tons in March, is up 17 percent, and there’s been growth of five percent each in Canada and Russia but a five percent slump in Australia.

    Overall, total world imports are expected to expand three percent on 2011/12 to reach at least 790,000 tons.

    Global production

    The IOC said that due mainly to the 62 percent collapse in Spain’s production, total world production this season is expected to be down a quarter on 2011/12’s record 3 .77 million tons, and the season to end with 45 percent less in stocks.

    Production is up, however, in Chile, by 30 percent, and by 22 percent each in Greece and Tunisia.

    Global consumption

    World consumption of 2.95 million tons is forecast for 2012/13, five percent less than last season.

    The European Union (E.U.) is headed for the biggest drop – an expected overall decline of 12 percent. Individually, consumption looks poised to fall 15 percent in the chief E.U. producing countries – Spain, Italy and Greece – and by 10 percent in Portugal, the IOC said.

    “Turkey is the country where consumption increases the most among the IOC Members,” it said.

    Table olives

    Midway through the 2012/13 crop year, table olive imports are up 13 percent in Canada, 11 percent in Russia, eight percent in Australia, seven percent in Brazil and one percent in the U.S.

    Sources:

    IOC Market Newsletter May, 2013

    By Julie Butler
    Olive Oil Times Contributor | Reporting from Barcelona

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    The United States docked two in every five tons of olive oil imported globally in the first six months of this season, according to the latest market newsletter from the International Olive Council. And the huge American market continues to swell – with total imports of olive... 
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  • Olive Oil quantity and quality are highly dependent on the olive variety

    High quality extra virgin olive oils are usually made from a blend of olive varieties in order to balance the flavour components with shelf life. Oil quantity and quality are highly dependent on the olive variety. The best oil varieties in the world have developed their reputation over centuries of production for fruit yields, oil content, flavour, keeping quality, maturity date, and ease of harvest.

    Most olive cultivars range in oil content from 10 to 35 percent of their fresh weight at full maturity. Growing olive varieties with an average oil yield of less than 20 percent ~ 45 gallons of oil per fresh ton of fruit are not usually profitable to use for oil. Of the majorolive varieties grown in California, Manzanillo, Mission, Sevillano, Ascolano, and Barouni, only Mission contains a high enough oil content to plant for oil. The quality of oil made from all of these olive varieties can be excellent, but is generally regarded as inferior because they are compared to specific oilvarieties with tradition, name recognition, and marketing perception. This is similar to recognized wine varietals in the world.

    Flavour components within each cultivar come from the water-soluble flavenoids, phenols, polyphenols, tocopherols, and esters that make up the bitter flavor of fresh olives. These compounds are also naturally occurring antioxidants that extend oil shelf life by reducing rancidity.The most prominent oil varieties in the world are Piqual, Empeltre, Arbequina, Frantoio,Coratina, Aglandaou, Picholine, Leccino, Chemlali, and Koroneiki. Oils with high polyphenol content have longer shelf life and are generally more bitter and pungent. I would prefer to choose a lighter flavored oil according to the the variety and harvest time, such as a late harvest Arbequina rather than buy a refined oil.

    Information source amazingoliveoil

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    High quality extra virgin olive oils are usually made from a blend of olive varieties in order to balance the flavour components with shelf life. Oil quantity and quality are highly dependent on the olive variety. The best oil varieties in the world have developed their reputation... 
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  • Trade Dispute with China Would Impact Europe’s Olive Oil Exports

    The world’s biggest olive oil exporter to China – Spain – fears being caught in the crossfire if a trade battle breaks out over the European Union’s punitive tariffs on Chinese solar panels announced Tuesday.

    China waited just a day to launch an anti-dumping probe into E.U. wine imports, a move which suggests a tit-for-tat trade war looms, the South China Morning Post reports.

    And the European Voice says rumors suggest Beijing may also target “olive oil, steel tubing, and part of the chemicals industry.”

    Similarly, ARN Digital says exporters fear Spanish olive oil could suffer some of the worst collateral damage because if China and the E.U. don’t reach a deal to resolve their dispute in the next two months, “China will impose barriers not just on wine but also on olive oil.”

    The country supplies nearly 60 percent of China’s olive oil imports and in the first quarter of this year its olive oil exports there enjoyed 80 percent growth year-on-year, to reach €35 million, ARN Digital said.

    Two-month window to seek solution on panels

    E.U. Trade Commissioner Karel De Gucht announced on Tuesday that the European Commission had decided to impose provisional tariffs on solar panels imported from China “in order to counter the dumping of these products on the European market.”

    A provisional 11.8 percent tariff now applies on all Chinese solar panel imports but this is to rise to an average of 47.6 percent from August 6. However, De Gucht said he would “prefer a negotiated solution, and quickly.”

    China’s Ministry of Commerce announced the wine probe in a statement the following day which also called for the EU to show “more sincerity and flexibility” on the solar dispute.

    “We have noted the quick rise in wine imports from the EU in recent years, and we will handle the investigation in accordance with the law,” the ministry statement said, according to South China Morning Post.

    E.U. itself the target of anti-dumping moves

    The E.U. has itself already been subject to various dumping claims over subsidies for olive oil production.As reported in Olive Oil Times in April, South Africa is the latest country to seek a countervailing duty to apply on E.U. olive oil imports.

    Peru had applied such an anti-subsidy duty on imports of Italian and Spanish olive oil until a tribunal there quashed the duty earlier this year on finding there had not been proof of injury to the olive oil sector in Peru.

    Sources:

    Remarks by EU Trade Commissioner Karel De Gucht on the decision to impose provisional anti-dumping measures on imports of solar panels from China
    China launches anti-dumping probe into EU wine imports
    De Gucht’s big gamble
    España será la más perjudicada por la guerra comercial entre China y la Unión Europea

    By Julie Butler
    Olive Oil Times Contributor | Reporting from Barcelona

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    The world’s biggest olive oil exporter to China – Spain – fears being caught in the crossfire if a trade battle breaks out over the European Union’s punitive tariffs on Chinese solar panels announced Tuesday. China waited just a day to launch an anti-dumping probe into... 
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  • Greeks Still World’s Top Olive Oil Guzzlers

    Greece still leads the world in per capita olive oil consumption, with each person consuming nearly 18kg yearly, according to figures from the European Commission.

    In a table of per capita olive oil consumption in the European Union for 2011/12, Greece is at the top with 17.9kg, followed by Spain with 12.6kg, Italy 10.9kg, Cyprus 7.5kg and Portugal 7.4kg.

    And the just over half a million people who live in Luxembourg, one of the world’s financial capitals, lapped up an average of 2.7kg of olive oil each, to slip in next, ahead of the French and Maltese, who averaged 1.7kg per person.

    Demand down in Spain

    Meanwhile, the latest figures from the Spanish Olive Oil Agency (AAO) show that domestic consumption in Spain continues to slide and is down 22 percent for the first seven months of this season (Otober 2012 to April 2013) compared to the same period last season, and 18 percent compared to the average for the four previous seasons. Exports are also 28 percent and 19 percent lower respectively.

    According to the AAO’s market report, Spain had olive oil stocks of 757,000 tons at the end of April, after producing 612,900 tons this season – down 62 percent on 2011/12 – and importing 68,100 tons.

    Producer prices in Spain

    According to Spain’s POOLred price observatory, the average ex-mill price for olive oil in Spain for the last week of May is €2.51 a kilo, down from €2.69 for the last week of April, and €2.83 in the last week of March but nearly 85 cents above that of the middle of last year, when prices started to recover there.

    Spanish olive oil producer Rafael Muela told Olive Oil Times he expected little movement in the spot price for olive oil in the next few months as people waited to see how the next crop would be.

    “The flowers are increasing very fast and based on the appearance of some small fruit it looks like next year will be a very good one,” he said.

    It that outlook held, prices would probably fall towards the end of the year, he said.

    “We were afraid at the start of the year (when grower prices were about $3/kg), because we felt that even international consumption would fall.”

    “We are comfortable at the current price nationally as at this level farms are profitable,” he said.

    “We would sell a little bit more at a lower price but we have to take care of our farmers. We don’t need to drop down to the prices of last year or two years ago or we’ll lose farmers.”

    “Maintaining them at the level now we make for a healthier sector and not only in Spain but these prices will also be good for farmers in California and other places.”

    Muela, co-owner and senior marketing vice-president of Córdoba-based Mueloliva, said he did not think sales would pick up in the national market if the current price level held but at least they would be maintained or perhaps rise a little internationally.

    Olive__oil__consuption
    Sources:

    Market report to April 30, 2013, from Spanish Olive Oil Agency (in Spanish)
    POOlred price observatory

    By Julie Butler
    Olive Oil Times Contributor | Reporting from Barcelona

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