California Certified: Who Made the Grade

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By Yardley Messeroux Olive Oil Times Contributor | Reporting from New YorkEnforcement of olive oil quality standards is still an elusive issue, since there isn’t a structured monitoring system for every bottle that hits the shelves. Producers are expected to follow the guidelines of the International Olive Council and the USDA, but it’s on the honor system.So the common concern must be addressed yet again — what will give consumers, and olive oil aficionados for that matter, assurance that the extra virgin they’ve purchased actually made the grade?Luckily, certification programs exist like that of the California Olive Oil Council. With their new list of certified olive oils, the COOC continues to push the relevance of ‘the seal’ to both producers and consumers.Through the COOC certification program, members are required to submit their oils to undergo a testing procedure to earn the COOC seal of approval. This seal is added to the labeling of the olive oils that make the extra virgin grade.For producers, it all boils down to reputation and profitability. For consumers, it makes it that much easier to identify quality Californian olive oils that will benefit the taste of their cooking, as well as the health of their families.The COOC set their criteria a notch higher than industry standards of the International Olive Council and the USDA. The testing process ensures the olive oil contains less than 0.5 percent free oleic acid (the IOC and USDA standards are set to only 0.8 percent); the olive oil cannot be extracted with chemicals or using excessive heat; and it must pass taste testing performed by a highly skilled panel of expert, certified tasters.The COOC celebrates its 20th anniversary this year and they have listed a veritable who’s who of California olive oil with the release of their 2012 seal winners. If you are a fan of good olive oil, take a gander at the roster of freshly certified extra virgins from the Golden State. Seventeen of the producers made the list three years in a row. Integrity never tasted so good.   

View the California Olive Oil Council’s Certification Seal Winners

Alta Cresta Orchard *
Coratina
Italian Blend
Tuscan Blend
www.altacresta.com

Araujo Estate Winery Olive Oil *
www.araujoestate.com

Bari Olive Oil *
Arbequina
Arbosana
Koroneiki
Mission
Organic Arbequina
Organic Arbosana
www.barioliveoil.com

Bava Family Grove
www.bavafamilygrove.com

Bozzano Olive Ranch *
A2 Organic
Bosana Organic
Coratina
Generations
Leccino Organic
Maurino Organic
Taggiasca
Toscano
Triple A
www.bozzanoranch.com

California Olive Ranch *
Arbequina
Arbosana
Koroneiki
Miller’s Blend
www.cal-olive.com

Calivirgin-Coldani Olive Ranch *
www.calivirgin.com

Corning Olive Oil Company 
www.corningoliveoil.com

Corto Olive Oil *
Arbequina
Arbosana
Koroneiki
Miller’s Blend
www.corto-olive.com

Cumae Ranch *
Estate EVOO
805-237-8489

Enzo Olive Oil 
Organic Arbosana
Organic Koroneiki
www.enzooliveoil.com

Grumpy Goats Farm 
Organic Coratina
Organic Pendolino
Organic Picual
www.grumpygoatsfarm.com

Hillstone Olive Oil Company *
Organic Arbequina
Organic Koroneiki
www.hillstoneoliveoil.com

Il Fiorello Olive Oil Company *
Frantoio
Pendolino
www.ilfiorello.com

Jericho Canyon Vineyard 
www.jcvcellars.com

Jovia Groves *
Arbequina
www.joviagroves.com

Lucero Olive Oil *
Arbequina
Arbosana
Koroneiki
Manzanillo
Sevillano
www.lucerooliveoil.com

Owens Creek *
Rocky Mesa Blend
Tuscan Blend
Sicilian Blend
www.owenscreekcompany.com

Roanti Ranch
Seka Hills
Arbequina

Talcott Olive Oil *
Carneros Estate
www.talcottoliveoil.com

Tasting Bars, LLC 
Drizzle Olive Oil
www.drizzleoliveoil.com

Tres Osos Olive Oil *
Organic

Val di Luna Farms *
Tuscan Blend

Winterhill Estate *
www.winterhillfarms.com

 

* Producers that earned the seal 3 years in a row

    Sources:California Olive Oil Council International Olive Council Standards United States Standards for Grades of Olive Oil and Olive-Pomace Oil


This article was last updated May 14, 2013 - 10:50 AM (GMT-5)

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  • Kerry

    Good to know! I’ll keep the list handy and look for the seal.

  • Blackbuttekoi

    I’ll look for the COOC cert. before buying.  Thanks!

  • Paul Vossen

    Unfortunately, the COOC testing procedure is not independent. Member oils are tested by an in-house panel, which limits the valididy of the results.