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  • High Performance Arbequina EVOO

    March 29, 2018

    Arbequina through the seasons

     

    Here is some background information and an update about our
    Arbequina EVOO.

     

    Grasslands, originally for cattle in early California, gave way

    to rice fields in the middle of the last century.  In 2009 we

    acquired some of those rice fields and converted them into a

    sustainably farmed olive orchard.  The oak savannah habitat

    that runs across and around our land is filled with deer and

    foxes, great horned owls and rabbits. All manner of creatures

    live among the trees and near the mighty Sacramento River.

     

    Three Types of Orchards

     

    As you probably know, we have three different types of orchards

    at Lucero Olive Oil -- Old World style "traditional" spacing for the

    trees which are over 100 years old, New World "medium" spacing,

    which makes better use of the land, however still requires hand

    harvesting, and some "high density" spacing for certain varieties

    which have been adapted to grow and be pruned into hedgerows.

    Our arbequina is one such high density planting.

     

    Standing under an old Valley Oak Tree facing  toward the Arbequina.

     

    Extremely hot weather during summer and early fall 2017 caused

    olive trees in our area to slow their production of oil which

    subsequently delayed harvest until later that it is typical. The result

    was lower than average yields however more intense flavor than in

    prior years. No where is this impact as pronounced as in this

    Arbequina orchard.

     

    Unique Conditions :

    Outstanding Arbequina

     

    We tpically allocate our entire Arbequina crop for use as a

    blending or flavoring oil. However,  this year's oil is so distinctive

    that we want to  share it with you as a single variety. We selected

    the top 3% most tasty and green lots from this year's harvest for

    bottling. When you taste it,  you'll see that  not all California

    Arbequina olive oils are the same!

     

    As we bottled an early harvest oil from the first day of the

    Arbequina harvest, we found it had a complex ripe floral and

    green aroma, with the classic ripe, nutty, and buttery flavors

    In addition there was a green herbaceous accent and some

    artichoke and green apple flavors.

     

    Unexpected Results Produce

    a Stunning Arbequina

     

    We also noticed pronounced bitterness and pungency along with

    a significantly higher than average total polyphenol level

    for  this variety which was due to this year's growing conditions

    The result is  adelicious and "high performance" Arbequina which

    we're proud to  present.

     

    The degree of polyphenols was quite unexpected because

    historically, California Arbequina olive oils test between 160

    and 190 mg/kg in total polyphenols.  In 2016 our lab reported

    242 mg/kg. Suprisingly, this crop is a stunning 329 mg/kg total

    polyphenols!  This level of nutrition is what contributes to the

    more intense and complex green flavors present in this crop.

     

    As with all Lucero EVOOs, this oil is verified extra virgin by the

    California Department of Food and Agriculture and the Extra Virgin

    Alliance; it is certified kosher and parve by Kof-K, and earlier this

    week we were advised that our entry earned a Gold Medal  at the

    California State Fair.

     

    You can order a bottle of this year's via this link, Arbequina and

    here are a few  more photos of the orchard and harvest.

    Please enjoy!

     

     

     

    High density arbequina is pruned at the optimal height for our harvester, between 7' and 8'.

     

     

     

     

    The harvest process takes one driver for the big yellow machine, and one fellow in the next row to catch the fruit.

     

    We prefer to harvest our arbequina on the greener side, or just changing colors.

     

     

     


  • Fabulous Favolosa

    January 31, 2018

     

    The Universal Passion for New Cultivars Among Growers

    Growers can't resist creating something new. Each year  enthusiasts from

    the American Rose Society create new, more fragrant roses with better

    blooms. Today  sources tell us that there are over 360 species of roses.

    In fact,  “helpmefind.com/roses” has reported that they've cataloged over

    44,000  rose varieties!

     

    Olive farmers are no different than rose-lovers in their quest for new,

    interesting flavors and higher yields from new olive varieties and California

    olive growers are active in this pursuit. Among the thousands  of olive cultivars

    cataloged,  over 75 of those varieties are grown in California . The Crane

    family, olive growers of Tehama County  share in that tradition by growing

    16  varieties for our Lucero brand, including  both classic “heritage”and

    modern varieties.

     

    The History of Prof. Fontanazza's Favolosa Cultivar

    This month we’re highlighting Favolosa", one of the world's newer olive

    cultivars. ProfessorGiuseppe Fontanazza developed Favolosa from trials

    over a period of 25 years (from 1980 to 2005). He used the classic varieties

    Moraiolo, Frantoio, and Ascolano Tenera as a starting point.

     

    His aim was to create a 100% “Italian” olive which would be delicious,

    productive, and could be trained to create more intensive  hedgerow planting

    schemes known as “high density” orchards which are suitable for modern

    mechanical harvesting. He succeeded with his cultivar “Guilia”, otherwise

    known in the US market by its patented  name, “Favolosa”, which means

    Fabulous.

     

    We certainly think it's fabulous, therefore, in 2013 we devoted one of our

    newer orchards to Favolosa  along with a few rows of “Don Carlo”, a related

    species, developed by Professor Fontanazza  in the late 20th century.

     

    Characteristics of Favolosa Olive Fruit

     

    Favolosa olive fruit is mostly round with a very subtle oval shape. It ripens

    in mid-harvest season into a wonderful reddish-magenta color which we’ve

    selected for our label color, too. It's flavor is typically delicate.

     

    Although we harvested this year’s Favolosa crop mid to late in the season with a

    lot of color showing, it didn't present as a delicate intensity olive oil .

     

     

    Our 2017 Favolosa has an assertive floral, spicy, and green olive aroma with

    an artichoke and green flavor and a leafy, slightly bitter finish.

     

    If you're a dedicated “mild/delicate” olive oil consumer, we hope you won’t be

    overly concerned about bitterness and pungency. Remember, a bit of salt

    always mitigates bitterness (it’s science!).

     

    We have Favolosa at special prices all of February to encourage you to try it. As

    a bonus we've  have published six recipes for you to try featuring Favolosa and

    we'd love for you to take advantage of this wonderful Valetnines' Day gift

    giving opportunity!

     

    Please enjoy, and  let us know what you think in the comments below or in a

    product review on the Favolosa page.

     

    Best Regards,

    Liz Tagami

    General Manager


  • High Expectations for 2018

    January 12, 2018

    Hello Olive Oil Fans!

     

    We wanted you to be among the first to know that Lucero Olive Oil  was rated the #2

    olive oil brand in the world for the 2017 competition season based on the 41 awards

    we earned in those competitions — 26 of the medals were Gold or higher, 2 were

    Best of  Class  and 2 were Best of Show.

     

    Judging Olive Oil Quality

     

    The internationally based EVOO World Ranking organization considers the 29 most

    rigorous and respected  international competition s and assigns points based on the

    type of medal awarded. Our oils were entered into 4 of these competitions (not all

    29) and competed against a field of 7,952 total entries to earn those 41 medals. 

     

    Factors Affecting Olive Oil Characteristics

     

    Each year is unique with its own challenges with weather and many other factors so

    we do the best we're able based on the headwinds Mother Nature sends our way.

    Alas, we were not even able to harvest all 17 of our olive varieties this year before

    inclement weather caught up to us.  Despite what some  marketers tell you, we don’t

    use the turning of a  calendar page to determine  an oil’s quality status—we use strict

    chemical  and sensory testing throughout an oil’s potential life span to determine if an

    oil is still worthy to be  called Extra  Virgin.

     

    What this means is that we  may retire some 2016/17 campaign EVOOs  early, and

    we may hold some  for longer periods. In fact, you'll find some “retired”  EVOOs in

    our clearance section still labeled as EVOO. Some EVOOs which have been re-graded

    to  VOO / virgin status without the “extra” due to how they’re aging and some oils

    from the 2016/17 harvest year rare still “gold medal” quality placed with  pride on

    our shelves.  We’ll continue to roll out 2017/18 releases throughout the Spring,

    including 2 (or more) surprise offerings we’re eager to share in  the  near future.

     

    Our Olive Oil Certification

     

    Only the very top oils from each harvest year find their way into Lucero Olive Oil

    brand bottles.  Later this month we’ll undergo our annual audit and have a certified

    laboratory sample our oils to ensure they meet the standards of authenticity and

    quality of the State of California and Extra Virgin Alliance .We submit our own set

    of samples as part of the process, too.

     

    Thank you for including our oils in your kitchen!  We would love to hear from you,

    whether a note or letter, or a review on our website, so please stay in touch.

     

    Wishing you a happy and healthy 2018 from all of us in Corning,

    Liz Tagami, General Manager
    Lucero Olive Oil

     

     

     


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