Califonia Bountiful

California Olive Ranch

Go behind the bottle at the largest olive oil producer in the country

Ask any chef, and he or she will tell you olive oil is an ingredient they couldn't live without. Used in a variety of ways, fresh olive oil elevates the mundane to the magical. And although Spain produces about half of the world's olive oil, here in the United States, most of ours comes from California and specifically from the California Olive Ranch. Located about 100 miles north of Sacramento, this is the largest producer of olive oil in the country. 

Olives have been grown in California for hundreds of years, but California Olive Ranch pioneered new ways of cultivating and harvesting olives to make their premium oils available to us all. And while they churn out more than 50,000 gallons a day during peak season, it's not just about quantity here. It's about quality—and the quality starts on the farm. 

Caring for olives all year long is what olive farmers live for. From pruning the branches so the fruit gets enough sunlight to making sure harvest runs smoothly, all is done to ensure the quality of the olives going in to be processed is as good as the oil coming out. 

Just as spectacular as the harvest, is the processing of the olives. Truckloads of fruit brought in for processing are first inspected, cleaned and sorted. Next they are put through a crushing machine and then a malaxer, both of which help break the olive cells down so more oil can be extracted from the fruit. Then it's on to the decanter, where a centrifuge further separates the liquids and the solids. The oil will eventually be stored in large stainless-steel tanks, then bottled for us to enjoy!

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