For the largest American olive oil producer, California Olive Ranch (COR), it’s all about growing: not olives, but market share.
Instead of slugging it out with smaller competitors for the limited supply of expensive homegrown fruit, the Chico-based company led by CEO Gregg Kelley is continuing its emergence as a marketer of high-quality olives oils made in California — and elsewhere.
COR raised eyebrows a few years back when it acquired the award-winning Italian brand Lucini at a time when bad-mouthing the quality of imported olive oils was practically a sport in the local industry.
The Lucini acquisition signaled that COR had its sights more on sales growth than emphasizing the American pedigree of its product range. “Our love of high-quality extra virgin olive oil extends beyond California,” the company affirms on its website.
Now, COR, whose sales reportedly exceed $100 million, has announced a limited-edition release of its new Americas Blend, made with South American oils that will be available through December in a 1.4‑liter “Chef Size” bottle.
The Americas Blend results from COR’s partnerships with producers in South America — including Argentina, Peru and Chile — and features “fifty percent Californian and fifty percent South American extra virgin olive oil,” coming together to create a “mild fruity flavor with approachable bitterness,” the company said.
“We value the sharing of process and information amongst producers in order to increase the quality of extra virgin olive oil throughout the world,” said COR, which has thrown its considerable weight behind a strategy which acknowledges that quality olive oil, and higher profits, have no boundaries.