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Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Would you like Olive Oil with that?

Olive oil has received a lot of attention lately. Perhaps it's Rachael Ray and her snappy little anagram EVOO. Or maybe it's like fashion that comes back into style. Or possibly olive oil has always been popular, certainly worldwide since the domestication of olive trees over 7,000 years ago in Turkey.

Olive oil production and use has a long and varied history that I will not pretend to be an expert on or even recount for you. Maybe it goes without saying that the United States is a relatively new player in this game. Homer referred to it as "liquid gold" and athletes in Ancient Greece rubbed it all over their bodies for medicinal purposes. Today, the Greeks are the largest consumers of olive oil, about 26 liters per person annually!

California has over 200 producers of olive oil, many of which are located here in the North State around Chico. Zucchini & Vine stocks several of these producers, creating olive oil anywhere from small craft batches, like Isern & Sons, to America's largest grower and processor, in the case of California Olive Ranch, which grows and harvests olives on more than 4,000 acres for its own production. We also stock our own House Olive Oil, Meyer Lemon Olive Oil, and Blood Orange Olive Oil, produced and bottled for us by Corning Olive Oil, which uses only the freshest hand-picked olives available. The House oil is a blend of Mission, Manzanillo, and Sevillano olives. The flavored oils are absolutely amazing, with vibrant fruit essence and bold olive flavor that comes from pressing the fruit with the olives. Our customers have used these oils for fish, grilled vegetables, and even in brownie mixes and over fries.

However you choose to use olive oil, it seems that it is here to stay, be it Californian, Italian, Spanish, or from the Eastern Mediterranean. Here's what our selection looks like on the shelves.

Olive Oils Aplenty

Eric Lovelin Photography

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