Best of the Valley went to Olivia’s OLA Block X Heirloom from Tulare County.

published on June 18, 2021 - 1:35 PM
Written by The Business Journal Staff

The San Joaquin Valley Olive Oil Competition made its return after a year off from Covid, with a total of 55 entries from 17 different olive oil producers throughout the state.

Entries were received in two categories, Extra Virgin Olive Oil (EVOO) and Flavored Olive Oil, with 10 classes in total. Gold and Silver Medals were awarded, as well as an overall “Best of Show” and “Best of the Valley” selected from all of the highest scoring gold medal entries in both categories.

Best of Show went to The Olive Press Seillano of Sonoma and Yolo County. Best of Show for flavored oils was the Calivirgin Serrano from San Joaquin County.

Best of the Valley went to Olivaia’s OLA Block X Heirloom from Tulare County.

Giulio Zavolta, owner of Lindsay-based Olivaia, said the win is important as the industry faces ongoing challenges.

“This year despite many farming issues we were awarded several medals including the ‘Best of the Valley,’” Zavolta said. “This is significant as most of the 100+ year old olive trees in the Tulare County area are being pulled for more lucrative crops. We started producing olive oil with our centennial trees to demonstrate that there is value, historical, culturally, and from a culinary point of view. Rather than destroying the rich olive history in Tulare we should be celebrating it. This year’s ‘Best of the Valley’ is further validation of our mission.”

Other winning oils include:

Extra Virgin Olive Oils

Gold Medal Winners

— Spanish Blends: Barton Olive Oil Co. EVOO (San Luis Obispo County)

— Spanish Singles: Olive Crush Farms Arbequina (Calaveras County), Rosenthal Ranches Arbosana (Madera County), California Olive Ranch Arbosana (Glenn County), The Olive Press Sevillano (Sonoma and Yolo County), The Olive Press Picual (Sonoma and Yolo County), The Olive Press Arbosana (Sonoma and Yolo County), Organic Roots Arbequina (Glenn County), Calivirgin Premium EVOO (San Joaquin County), Mountain Springs Olive Ranch Arbequina (San Luis Obispo County), Corto Olive Co. Truly Arbosana (San Joaquin County)

— Italian Blends: Tres Osos Robust (Monterey County), San Miguel Olive Farm Tuscan Gold Eleganza Elite (San Luis Obispo)

— Italian Singles: Tres Osos Taggiasca (Monterey County)

— Other Blends: Rancho Azul y Oro Estate (Monterey County), Olivaia’s OLA Block X Heirloom (Tulare County)

— Other Singles: Mangini Ranch Mission (Calaveras County), Mountain Springs Olive Ranch Koroneiki (San Luis Obispo County)

Silver Medal Winners:

— Spanish Blends: Olivaia’s OLA Block X Blend (Tulare County)

— Spanish Singles: Cobram Estate 100% California Classic (Yolo County), Cobram Estate Mild (Yolo County), Rancho Azul y Oro Arbequina (Monterey County), The Olive Press Arbequina (Sonoma and Yolo County), ENZO Organic EVOO – Delicate (Madera County), Corto Olive Co. Truly Arbequina (San Joaquin County)

— Italian Blends: San Miguel Olive Farm Tuscan Gold Paradiso (San Luis Obispo County), Marchini Farms Joe’s Premium Tuscan Blend (Merced County)

— Other Blends: Mangini Ranch – Calaveras Reserve (Calaveras County)

— Other Singles: Organic Roots Koroneiki (Glenn County)

Flavored Olive Oils

Gold Medal Winners

— Pepper: Calivirgin Serrano (San Joaquin County), Calivirgin Habanero (San Joaquin County)

— Citrus: Enzo Organic Eureka Lemon Crush (Madera County), ENZO Organic Clementine Crush (Madera County)

— Herbal: Calivirgin Bountiful Basil (San Joaquin County),

Silver Medal Winners
— Pepper: Calivirgin Hot Virgin Jalapeno (San Joaquin County), ENZO Organic Fresno Chili Crush (Madera County)

— Citrus: Calivirgin Lusty Lemon (San Joaquin County)

— Herbal: Calivirgin Rustic Rosemary (San Joaquin County)

“Despite a challenging 2020 harvest due to worker shortages caused by COVID-19 restrictions and an extremely hot and dry year in California, we could not be more pleased with the showing of these amazing olive oil producers,” said Stacy Rianda, Deputy Manager II at The Big Fresno Fair, which organized the competition. “It’s such an exciting feeling to bring back the San Joaquin Valley Olive Oil Competition that recognizes and rewards some of the best olive oil producers throughout California.”

Gold Medal and Best of Show winners will have the opportunity to have a booth in the Wells Fargo Agriculture Building on one day during a weekend at the 2021 Big Fresno Fair or have a booth at the Fair’s Beer and Wine Festival on Saturday, Oct. 9. At either location, they will have the opportunity to display and sell their award-winning product. Additionally, educational information will be set up so that Fairgoers can learn more about the art of making olive oil, its health benefits, recipes and more.

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