Local Feature: California Olive Ranch
When we think of local we usually tend to think of products from your neighborhood farmer at the Farmer’s Market or of foods from a local Minnesota owned company. These products are wonderful and we love supporting them, but what do you do when you are looking for products that can’t be produced in Minnesota due to the harsh winter climate?
Olives for example, only grow in warm dry climates. Minnesota is obviously not ideal conditions for this small oval fruit to grow in- so where is this food product you are purchasing coming from? Would you believe that more than 95% of Olive Oil is imported from countries like Spain, Italy and Chile. This can be problematic because it turns out almost two-thirds of these imported Olives and Olive Oil is mislabeled as “extra virgin” even if it is not. This means that the olives you are consuming are using heat and chemicals to harvest and turn into olive oil. These methods do not meet the legal requirements or definitions that are necessary to consider that label.
So what are your other options when you are trying to shop as local as possible? It turns out California Olive Ranch is an excellent producer of these products- and their products are featured in Coborn’s Grocery Stores and on CobornsDelivers.com. These much smaller Olive Grower Groups not only follow legal requirements, they work hard to conserve their resources. For example, California Olive Ranch cares for the land by mulching their tree trimmings back into field to protect their land and future crops. They also extend their water use and drip irrigation to get the most out of their resources. Additionally, shipping from California instead of throughout Europe uses less transportation time and distance. This is great for produce freshness as well as the environment.
Here are some helpful facts about Olive Oil:
- The harvest dates on the bottles are all different, so be sure to use a freshly opened bottle within six months.
- Keep oil away from the stove. Heat, light and oxygen are bad for olive oil. California Olive Ranch does an excellent job of keeping the products in ideal conditions prior to their shipping date.
- However, make sure you also keep your oil out of the refrigerator. This changes its quality too.
- Olive Oil is low in cholesterol, sodium and carbs. This makes it a great kitchen essential and helpful to have on hand when preparing foods!
So close the distance that your food is traveling. Purchase products that are from as close as possible and be sure to check the background of your products prior to purchasing!