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In my opinion, the best olive oil comes from California. Okay, I might be a little biased here, but with over 41,000 acres dedicated to the production of California olive oils, I think we’re on to something. With so many options to choose from, it’s hard to find a favorite, but I’m always on the lookout for the best olive oil in the Golden State.
Surprisingly, however, not all oils—or even extra virgin olive oils (EVOOs)—are made equally. According to the California Olive Oil Council (COOC), there are no country-wide regulations in the U.S. dictating that olive oil must meet chemical and sensory standards.
To combat these inconsistencies in California, two agencies—the COOC, which tests specifically for EVOO, and the Olive Oil Commission of California (OOCC), which maintains standards for all olive oil—aim to test, accurately label, and uphold the quality of Golden State olive oils.
But even though California has some of the most exacting standards in the country, each olive oil made here will taste different. Thanks to the 75-plus different types of olives grown specifically for oil production in California, artisans have a lot of flexibility to grow, blend, and bottle their own distinct recipes.
The following olive oil companies rise above the rest with their environmentally sustainable practices, high-quality oils, and successful track records. So grab a baguette, a salad, or your favorite ice cream, and get ready to fall in love with California olive oil.
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Certified by the OOCC, Bariani Olive Oil takes sustainability and environmental responsibility seriously. Along with producing high-quality extra virgin olive oil, balsamic vinegar, raw honey, and food-grade body care products, the company also makes a point to compost or create animal feed from food scraps, recycle as much as possible, and use smarter packaging to leave a smaller impact on the planet.
California Olive Ranch is doing things differently and producing some of the best extra virgin olive oil in the state. California Olive Ranch olive oil is made from the ripest olives; the freshly pressed juices are extracted using only mechanical methods, so the oil is not tainted by chemicals or high heat. In addition to making certified kosher, non-GMO, and high-quality oils, California Olive Ranch aims to maintain sustainable practices at all of its California ranches and to offer affordable extra virgin olive oil to its customers.
Whether you’re seeking the perfect olive oil for cooking, dipping, or drizzling, Corto Olive Co. has just the thing. Certified by both the OOCC and COOC, Corto olive oil showcases the authentic flavors of EVOO—you can’t beat the flavor of freshly harvested olives that are cold-extracted on the same day they’re picked. The company specializes in oils and nothing else, so you can rest assured that you’re getting a quality product every time.
You can’t go wrong with oil from ENZO Olive Oil Company, distinct for its USDA Organic, kosher, and non-GMO certifications—plus seals of approval from the OOCC and COOC. Owned by Ricchiuti Family Farms, ENZO Olive Oil Company combines the family’s Italian heritage with 100 years of California farming experience to produce the highest-quality organic olive oil in the San Joaquin Valley. From planting the olive trees and harvesting the crops to milling the fruit and bottling the oil, ENZO does everything on-site. If you need another reason to love the company, try its flavored olive oils, which include Meyer lemon, garlic, basil, and clementine infusions.
Stop by McEvoy Ranch for a Petaluma olive oil tasting you’ll remember for years to come. Recognized by the OOCC and California Certified Organic Farmers, McEvoy Ranch stands out for its excellent attention to detail throughout the entire process—all the growing, harvesting, milling, blending, and bottling happen on the ranch. Plan your visit to see what makes this property and olive oil so special.
What’s your favorite California olive oil? Let us know in the comments below.
CALIFORNIA RANCH IS MY FAVORITE AND IS READILY ACCESSIBLE WHERE I LIVE. I HAVE A HOME IN MEXICO AND ONLY EUROPEAN OLIVE OIL IS AVAILABLE.
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