Ernie Roncoroni (left) co-founding member of the Yolo County Olive Oil Competition, Kim Katz and Albert Katz, winners of the Patty Bogle-Roncoroni Award for Best of the Best

The Yolo County Fair added a new dimension to its olive oil competition this year with a Best of the Best Award. Created to honor the memory of Patty Bogle-Roncoroni, co-founder of the competition.

Bogle-Roncoroni, a member of the Yolo County Fair board, played an integral role in developing the competition seven years ago. “The award came about in celebration of Patty’s passion for the competition,” said Angie Roddan, Yolo County Fair deputy manager. The Best of the Best Award brought the top winners of the five divisions together for one final judging. “They’re all different so it’s a challenge,” said Roddan, “but it’s exciting.” Describing the accolades the award bestows, Roddan quipped, “Is there a way to say somebody’s the super-top?”

And the winner, chosen from almost 150 olive oils, was KATZ Rock Hill Ranch Organic of Suisun Valley. Albert and Kim Katz are not new to competitions and certainly have an impressive collection of awards, but there was no denying this one was something special. The Katz’s had the privilege of learning about Patty during a visit with her husband, Ernie, while at the fair. “She was instrumental in the fair and quite an expert wine owner,” said Katz. “Knowing what I know about her, the award means a lot more. For us, it’s also the acknowledgement of so many layers of honors,” Katz continued. “No competition goes that next step, that is to say, the best of the best. It’s the combination of knowing who she is and earning this first award.”

Albert’s passion for olive oil began in the early ‘90s after years as the chef-owner of a restaurant in Oakland hills where he used quality ingredients sourced from local farmers and Kim arranged flowers for the restaurant from local growers as well. A move to the Napa Valley and a trip to Italy turned out to be the combination that kick-started his role in the California olive oil industry. Among the pioneers who began the California Olive Oil Council, Katz has produced extra virgin olive oil since 2000.

To earn the Best of the Best, there had to be a little extra something that gave this year’s KATZ Rock Hill Ranch Organic a winning edge. Certainly the soil, the climate, and Taggiasca, Casaliva, and Leccino olive varietals all played roles. Oh, and the chickens, of course. French Redbro chickens to be precise. Rock Hill Ranch brought chickens on board a year ago to fertilize the groves and continue the sustainability of this certified organic farm. “We notice things in the finish,” said Katz, who clearly enjoyed surmising the source. “It’s hard not to tie the dots together,” said Katz. “It’s hard not to think that a year of fertilizing trees didn’t add another dimension.”

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