California Olive Oil Goes to Washington


Everyone knows that an army marches on its stomach, but it took Secretary of State Hillary Clinton to highlight on the fact that diplomacy does as well. California extra virgin olive oil was among the foods chosen to showcase the best of American cuisine at the launch of the Diplomatic Culinary Partnership Initiative on Friday, September 7th, at the US Department of State in Washington, DC. California olive oil pioneer Deborah Rogers of The Olive Press, honored by Olive Oil Times as US Producer of the Year in 2010, was invited to attend the event and supply olive oil for…
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Olive Oil at the American Oil Chemists’ Society


This article originally appeared in Olive Oil Times. Olive oil analysis received more than its fifteen minutes of fame at this year’s annual meeting of the American Oil Chemists’ Society (AOCS) 30 April to 2 May in Long Beach, California. The weekend before the meeting there was a short course entitled Olive Oil Chemistry and Sensory Relationships, and Tuesday morning featured a technical group meeting and a session “Olive and Specialty Oil.” Andy Proctor of the University of Arkansas introduced Rod Mailer of the Australian Oils Research Laboratory who started the olive oil short course with an overview of olive…
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Olive Oil Chemistry and Sensory Evaluation: AOCS Course Showcases a Beautiful Relationship…


An upcoming short course at the American Oil Chemists’ Society (AOCS) annual meeting in Long Beach entitled “Olive Oil Chemistry and Sensory Relationships” will focus on an area that is receiving a lot of attention these days. The course is being held on Saturday, April 28 (in the afternoon) and Sunday, April 29 (in the morning). This topic is a particularly hot one during this time of revamping and improving olive oil quality standards. The question it explores is how well do the results of chemical analysis correlate with the sensory characteristics of an olive oil? The line-up of presenters…
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Olive Oil Quality: Whither the US?


January 2012 is likely to be remembered as a watershed month in the US olive oil industry. It seems that at long last, we can glimpse a light at the end of the tunnel. The catalyst for much of what happened was unquestionably Tom Mueller and his book Extra Virginity: The Sublime and Scandalous World of Olive Oil. Although his book tour started in December of last year, Tom’s presence in California in January 2012 led to a number of events being scheduled. But Extra Virginity was just what brought the spotlight to bear on the scene, it was not…
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The Quality Olive Oil Challenge: Musings on the CIA/UC Davis Olive Center Seminar


One of the problems faced by quality olive oil producers and their supporters is that a lot of time is spent preaching to the choir. We have conferences, symposia, seminars and short courses, with audiences consisting mostly of olive oil producers, an occasional chef, and some miscellaneous academics, scientists, writers and other olive oil partisans. There are a lot of excellent presentations, creative ideas and energetic exchanges.  But at the end, it seems like there is never enough meaningful progress outside of this group of olive oil fanatics. The upcoming class co-presented by the Culinary Institute of America and UC…
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Varietal or Variety? The Words of Olive Oil


The olive oil world is being tempted to follow the wine world down the path of questionable language: it’s time to decide if that is an “olive varietal,” or an “olive variety.” This was brought to my attention by Mike Madison, Yolo County olive oil producer, writer and philosopher.  He’ll be embarrassed by me saying that about the philosopher, but it’s true. And personally, I have to admire someone who starts a company called “Yolo Press” because he writes and publishes books, and then proceeds to keep the same name making estate-produced extra virgin olive oil. What are the odds?!…
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Australian Olive Association Conference Through a Californian’s Eyes (Part II)

Awards Dinner

Where do we go from here?— Legal standards and chemistry were only part of the ground covered at the Australian Olive Association National Conference. A significant amount of time was devoted to the world of promotion and marketing, and how this informs the efforts at charting a course for the future. During his opening remarks, Paul Miller, president of the AOA, highlighted the importance of the marketing and education that is done by olive oil companies, particularly highlighting the contribution of smaller producers who spend a lot of time interacting with their customers. This theme of connecting with consumers was…
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Australian Olive Association Conference Through a Californian’s Eyes (Part I)

AOANC 2011

Where the Olive Oil Industry is Now, and How We Got Here— The theme of the Australian Olive Association’s (AOA) 2011 national conference, “Restoring Trust in the Trade of Olive Oil,” was a logical choice in the year that saw approval of a new olive oil standard in Australia. The adoption of the standard is a big first step to restoring trust, and discussion of it was a hot topic both onstage and off. For those who haven’t been following the Australian olive oil standards story, in a nutshell it is a very solidly written standard for olive and olive…
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Artisan Olive Oil in the Mornington Peninsula


The Mornington Peninsula is  like the Sonoma or Napa County of the Melbourne area. The landscape is lovely, and they produce first-rate wine, olive oil and other good things to eat. After our visit to the “big is beautiful” world of Boundary Bend, Dan Flynn and I took a little day trip to visit Leontyna, a boutique olive oil producer in the Mornington Peninsula. I had been told that Jill and Julian had a very nice olive grove, but I didn’t realize that they had been recognized as Olive Grove of the Year in 2010. The reason for the honor…
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Olive Oil Quality and Quantity Intersect in Victoria


The long-anticipated tour of Boundary Bend Ltd began when Andrew Burgess took Dan Flynn of the UC Olive Center and me to the Modern Olives/Boundary Bend facility in Lara. This is near Geelong, by the way, home of the champion Geelong Cats, of the Australian rules football league. Aka “footy,” this game is played without padding or helmets, and is clearly not for wimps. I asked about how it works, and only got as far learning that you can kick or punch the ball, but can’t run with it without bouncing it periodically… Someday I will go to the local…
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