`California State Fair Gets USDA Funding to Host Olive Oil Competition

Fairs, Competitions

California State Fair Gets USDA Funding to Host Olive Oil Competition

Jan. 29, 2015
Sukhsatej Batra

Recent News

The Cal­i­for­nia State Fair cel­e­brates the best the Golden State has to offer through annual com­pe­ti­tions for beer, wine, cheese, bak­ing, can­ning and live­stock.

This year, the 161-year-old fair added a new com­pe­ti­tion to cel­e­brate its agri­cul­tural diver­sity – the Cal­i­for­nia State Extra Vir­gin Olive Oil Com­pe­ti­tion with $115,000 pro­vided by the US Depart­ment of Agri­cul­ture under its Spe­cialty Crop Grant Pro­gram.

Accord­ing to the USDA, the pur­pose of the Spe­cialty Crop Grant Pro­gram is to enhance the com­pet­i­tive­ness of the spe­cialty crops”. The Cal­i­for­nia Depart­ment of Food and Agri­cul­ture received a total of $19,881,478 in grants under this pro­gram to cover a host of agri­cul­tural prod­ucts pro­duced in the state of Cal­i­for­nia.

Some of the fund­ing allot­ted to strengthen the Cal­i­for­nia olive indus­try will go towards edu­cat­ing pro­duc­ers on aspects of olive pro­duc­tion and pro­cess­ing as well as to pro­mote sale of olive oil pro­duced in Cal­i­for­nia.

The $115,000 fund­ing received by Cal­i­for­nia State Fair will be used to orga­nize its first EVOO com­pe­ti­tion to pro­mote Cal­i­for­nia olive oil and edu­cate the pub­lic on olive oil indus­try stan­dards, label­ing and iden­ti­fy­ing qual­ity.

The Los Ange­les County Fair also hosts an annual com­pe­ti­tion and it was unclear what impact, if any, the new com­pe­ti­tion would have on the pop­u­lar­ity of the L.A. com­pe­ti­tion among the Cal­i­for­nia pro­duc­ers who rep­re­sent a large share of its entries.


The Fair is invit­ing olive oil pro­duc­ers to sub­mit entries to the Cal Expo by April 1, 2015.

Require­ments for entry into the com­pe­ti­tion are straight­for­ward: Only com­mer­cially avail­able EVOOs pro­duced from olives grown, pressed and packed in Cal­i­for­nia are eli­gi­ble for the com­pe­ti­tion.

Pro­duc­ers of olive oil can enter by pay­ing an $80 fee and sub­mit­ting four bot­tles of their EVOO pro­duced in the cur­rent har­vest sea­son. Pro­duc­ers iden­tify the classes of their entries based on the promi­nent cul­ti­var. Extra vir­gin olive oils entered in the sin­gle or blend divi­sions may come under del­i­cate, medium or robust cat­e­gories. Cit­rus, herbs, chili or other fla­vored EVOOs can also be entered in the com­pe­ti­tion.

Judg­ing of the olive oils will take place on May 7, 2015 after the oils have under­gone lab test­ing and pre­lim­i­nary screen­ing. Blind judg­ing of the oils will be con­ducted by judges who only have access to the iden­ti­fi­ca­tion code, divi­sion and class of the EVOO sam­ples, accord­ing to the orga­niz­ers.

Pro­duc­ers have a chance to win a gold, sil­ver or bronze medal in addi­tion to the best of class, best of divi­sion and best of show awards. Win­ners of the com­pe­ti­tion will be announced at the fair in July.

Related News