After a long history of coming in second place for the quality of its extra virgin olive oil, the United States is expected to be a leader in olive oil production, with the probability of beating Italy in the coming months and years.
In a year dominated by a drought, Californian olive oil producers managed to blend some of the world’s best olive oils that helped win 38 awards at the New York International Olive Oil Competition in 2015.
“At least 95 percent of the olive oil produced in the (U.S.) exceeds any known standards for extra virgin olive oil,” said Jonathan Norman, representative for the American Olive Oil Producers Association.
The NYIOOC brings in more than 700 entries from 26 countries and is judged by a panel of experts.
In a California Olive Oil Council report, more than 90 percent of the nation’s extra virgin olive oil is produced in California, totaling 2.4 million gallons this past year.
Matthew Gozal, freshman computer science major, is a self-proclaimed enthusiast for California-based olive oils.
“My mom raised my siblings and me to use olive oil from Migliore Gourmet Foods here in Riverside,” Gozal said. “You can definitely taste the difference from Migliore and any other brand or make.”
California is expected to be a world-class producer of olive oil in 2016.