07 May

Fresno state Olive Oil wins Yolo Fair medal

Fresno State Orchards Estate Reserve Olive Oil has won its second consecutive medal and will be showcased at the Beyond Extra Virgin: Italo-Californian Olive Oil Conference on May 22-23 in Davis.

The 2006 harvest olive oil produced by students at California State University, Fresno won a bronze medal at the Yolo County Fair competition judged in April. The medal will be presented at a VIP dinner on Aug. 14, a day before the fair begins in Woodland.

Fresno State’s first olive oil was pressed in fall 2005, released in March 2006 and awarded a bronze medal last November at the prestigious San Diego Bay Wine and Food Festival.

The inaugural Fresno State olive oil sold out during the winter holiday season. The 2006 crop, whose production was about one-third of potential because of unfavorable weather conditions, is in short supply.

The 2006 vintage, released March 7 at the Fresno State’s Farm Market and We Olive store in Fig Garden Village shopping center in Fresno, is a true reserve blend that is blended for balance, taste and flavor, said Gino Favagrossa, Fresno State orchard manager.

“The 2006 Fresno State olive oil is a blend of Arbequina, Arbosana and Koroneiki oils; fruity with a mild pungence that leaves a pleasing, persistent taste reminiscent of green herbs, tomato and banana,” Favagrossa said, adding that the 2006 version is already a big hit with loyal customers who waited for three months in anticipation for the latest release.

“More than 1,000 bottles of 2006 olive oil have been sold since its release,” he said.

Earlier, Fresno State’s olive oil won the California Olive Oil Council’s Seal of guarantee for “Extra-virgin olive oil” based on strict quality standards.

At the Yolo competition, Fresno State was among 36 producers who submitted 64 entries.

Dr. Ganesan Srinivasan, director of the University Agricultural Laboratory at Fresno State where the olives are grown, said the Yolo County Fair was organized three years ago to promote and showcase the California olive oil industry. Much of the state’s olive oil production is in and around Yolo County.

“California can produce some of the top quality extra-virgin olive oil and compete internationally,” Srinivasan said. “Our students have shown that the Central Valley has all the ingredients to become a premier olive oil producer in California.”

Srinivasan said the Fresno State Orchard also has entered its olive oil in the Los Angeles County Fair and results are expected in early June.

Fresno State’s “olive for oil” project is conducted on a 22-acre block of super high-density plantings on the campus’s 1,053-acre University Farm. Under the academic auspices of the Plant Science Department and Favagrossa’s direction, the olives were mechanically harvested, then processed and bottled by the California Olive Ranch of Oroville, a partner in the venture.

At the two-day conference at UC Davis later this month, Favagrossa will make a presentation on Fresno State’s experience with its olive oil project.

Fresno State will co-sponsor the event that will bring together growers, producers, processors, marketers, food service providers, restaurateurs, researchers, and educators to discuss the challenges within current practice and the potential for new innovations in producing and marketing consistently high quality olive oils. Experts and scientists will make recommendations for new standards in branding and promoting high quality olive oils.

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