2017 New York International EVOO Competition Gold Medal
2017 Los Angeles International: Gold Medal
California State Fair: Gold Medal
California Olive Oil Council: Gold Medal
Good Food Award Winner 2017
This is a Medium high extra virgin olive oil with more green flavors than ripe flavors. We noticed a wonderful mix of cut grass, green banana, tomato leaf, and fresh chopped herbs. This is a very balanced oil with great balance of aroma and complementing flavors that support and reinforce each other. The oil is more pungent than bitter and we found it on the high side of medium intensity. This oil has been consistently loved at every competition it has entered and is beautiful example of how well Picual can do in California with right amount of care and attention. It shows very well against the best from Spain. It will stand up well against most strong flavors in raw uses and would be great for high temperature cooking and baking.
Aroma - Green herbs and green grass
Flavor - Green tomato leaf and herbs, green banana
Bitterness - Medium
Pungency - Medium High
Picual - COOC tasting panel noted grassy, herbaceous, tomato leaf, hay/straw flavors. All typical of our Picual. High quality is on VERY nice fruit this year. Polyphenol rating 364
Overall, the oils this year are lower in polyphenol level than last year. Partly due to the amount of water they got, which mill they used, and how ripe the fruit was when harvested. They harvested them somewhat riper than last year, and you can see that in the increase in ripe fruit characteristics as well as phenol ratings. All oils are higher in fruit and pungency than in bitterness. They detect little bitterness in the oils. All the oils are rated medium in robustness by COOC.
About the Producer:
Stuart Littell and Pamela Marvel are partners in life and in business. When Pamela prepared to make good on a life-long dream –to live in the country as she had growing up on a dairy farm in Wisconsin–. Stuart was a full backer and supporter. Pamela wanted to be an active participant in rural life too, a traditional farmer who grew crops, nurtured the soil and improved the environment. After some deliberation, they decided to look for the ideal place to locate a small olive orchard, where they could produce their own olive oil. In early 2008 they bought a 20 acre farm in Capay Valley, about 35 miles west of Sacramento. It was just an alfalfa field.
Stuart and Pamela have a set of shared values that have guided their work on the farm. Pamela comes from a family of Norwegian and German farmers, some of whom immigrated to the Midwest in the 1800s. Good stewardship of the land was important to these farmers, including her parents, who set a fine example of good farming practices and hard work. Stuart’s Scottish grandparents helped manage national parks in the Sierras for decades. His family has a deep affection for nature, and a strong interest in caring for the environment. It was natural, therefore, for Stuart and Pamela to farm organically, to use good conservation practices, to develop wildlife habitat, to use native species of plants for habitat and cover crops, and in general to try to live a life respectful of nature.
Together they have made good progress on the farm: there are now 1400 olive trees on 8 acres. Coratina, Picual, Pendalino, Itrana, Barnea and Nocellera varietals have been planted. Hedgerows of native trees, shrubs, flowers for birds and pollinators are thriving. Dozens of shade trees have been planted around the farmstead. Drip irrigation has been installed throughout. In the fall of 2015 they planted the remaining 9 acres to double the number of olive trees planted, with some new varieties added for more depth and complexity in the oil that is produced.
Their farm is located in Capay Valley about 80 miles northeast of San Francisco. It has a great climate and good clay loam soil for growing olives. Their first trees were planted in 2008 and they enjoyed their first harvest of Coratina olives in November 2010. In fall 2016 they celebrated their seventh harvest. They are proud to have their oil certified extra virgin by the California Olive Oil Council and certified organic by CCOF.