The California Difference

There’s extra virgin olive oil and then there’s California-grown-and-milled extra virgin olive oil, the best olive oil in the world. Yes, we’re biased, but here’s why.  

With no federal regulations regarding the labeling and composition of imported olive oils or olive oils grown and bottled in the U.S., the Olive Oil Commission of California (OOCC) was formed in March of 2014. Their CA Extra Virgin Olive Oil standard includes all the tests and parameters for olive oil purity found in the California Health and Safety Code.

CDFA Verified refers to their standard for California Extra Virgin Olive Oil required under the California Department of Food and Agriculture as one of the most stringent in the world for good reason. CDFA Verified California olive oil is produced under a program of mandatory government sampling and testing to verify it meets strict quality standards. As a member in good standing, La Panza Ranch customers enjoy a fresh premium—and pure—extra virgin olive oil from its California-estate grown-and-milled olives, free of additives, heat, chemicals, and less-expensive filler oils.

Imported olive oils are under no such constraints, meaning there’s no guarantee that what’s in the bottle is 100 percent extra virgin olive oil. The same goes for olive oils from other states without their own standards. Put simply, OOCC member olive oil is the real deal. All others might be.

Harvesting Methods: Traditional European olive growers deal with sprawling, old olive trees where picking the olives by hand is too expensive and time-consuming. Instead, they wait for the olives to become overripe and then they literally shake them loose from the trees. The fruit falls onto tarps laid underneath, which can yield rotted, soiled, or damaged olives. These are then gathered and brought to the mill, which could be on-site or hours away by truck. The process usually produces a yellow oil that’s more acidic than La Panza’s premium, smooth, extra virgin olive oils. 

At La Panza Ranch, our olive trees are smaller, allowing for the olives to be picked straight from the tree at the perfect maturity with no fruit falling to the ground. From there they go directly to our on-site millhouse. The result is a clean and pure extra virgin olive oil with a light green color. And a green extra virgin olive oil is a fresh extra virgin olive oil. 

Quality Is Local: California extra virgin olive oils sold throughout the United States don’t spend weeks in transit across the ocean, sit in customs’ warehouses for days, and then get transported by truck to sit for more weeks under the glare of a grocery store’s lights. Who knows how many different temperatures and environments an imported shipment of olive oil has seen?

By contrast, La Panza’s oils stay safely stored in our climate-controlled cisterns until needed. At that time, they’re blended, packaged, and shipped to your door in our signature lightproof and airtight Pantry Pouch. When you pour out a La Panza Ranch extra virgin olive oil for the first time, it’s mere days since it was packaged, not months, such as an imported olive oil bought from a store. From our family ranch to your table, delivered fresh every time. 

History: Olive trees—and olive oil—have a history in California that dates back 300 years, starting with the first Spanish missions established in Southern California. Along the state’s Central Coast, Mission San Luis Obispo de Tolosa was founded in 1772 and olive trees arrived as well. By 1787, the Mission Santa Margarita de Cortona Asistencia was erected less than 35 miles from what would become La Panza Ranch. Olive trees have been thriving in the region ever since.
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