California Olive Oil History In Brief... (Really Brief!)
The first American olive oil was produced around 1800 at San Diego de Alcala, a California mission founded by Franciscan padres from Mexico. One hundred years later, there were an estimated half million olive trees in California, and today there are 65,000 acres of California land devoted to olive trees, with up to 650 trees per acre! Many of the Mission, Manzanillo and Sevillano trees in these orchards are over 100 years old.
A true revival of the American olive industry began in the 1980ís with California producers focused on quality not quantity. Today they are among the best oils in the world. This is clearly demonstrated by the results of the 2011 Los Angeles International Olive Oil Competition in which 16 countries were represented:
Number of medals presented to California olive oils: 152
Number of medals presented to Italian olive oils: 79
Number of medals presented to Spanish olive oils: 46
Number of medals presented to all other countries: 89
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