Last Saturday we won a Gold Medal with our Napa Valley Select Extra Virgin Olive Oil at the annual meeting of the California Olive Oil Council. We are very pleased.
While the rest of the world was focused on medal contests at the Winter Olympics, we were similarly engaged.
The California Olive Oil Council is the industry trade association for olive oil production in the United States. An annual competition was initiated last year to acknowledge the best producers in the domestic olive oil industry. The oils are judged by a jury of our most significant peers.
These same tasters apply their skills to accredit extra virgin olive oils that receive the COOC seal. And, they have received many hours of training and have tasted hundreds of oils in structured blind settings. As a result, their judgment means even more to us than a review from a "civilian" food writer or critic.
So, for us, this award is a "really big deal."
Oiive oil maker for Long Meadow Ranch, Jason Moulton, was in attendance to receive the award. (Regretably, the award ceremony overlapped with the Napa Valley Premier barrel auction which prevented Laddie and me from being there, too.) He returned home with a grin that will last for a few more days.
Napa Valley Select Extra Virgin Olive Oil is our "mixing and blending" oil made from a blend of Italian and Spanish cultivars. It is our favorite for salads, pesto, and Tuscan beans. Unfortunately, the 2010 harvest was very light because of severe weather during flower set last May. So, while we have just completed bottling, there will not be much to go around. In fact, we did not make any Prato Lungo oil for first time since 1995 because we had no crop from the historic orchards.
While the medal is not exactly "Olympic" in its importance, we are very proud to receive this recognition for our organic farming and oil production practices. Bravo to Jason, Frank, Pilo, Todd, Lauren, Sean, and all of the crew.