Olive Oil

If your looking for a question re: “extra vigin”, begone!

At the supermarket, we’ve got the section with canned olives. Mostly California varieties with a few more expensive jars from Italy, Greece, and Spain.

Skip an aisle or two over; check out the olive oil: it’s all from Italy, Greece, and Spain–nada from California!

I mentioned this two my Mother-in-Law (as rabid a Californian as I am a Texan), and she told me that CA made lots of olive oil and gave me this fancy foods catalog to prove it. The fancy foods catalog also had tons of Italian, Greek, and Spanish olive oils and one or two expensive types made in small batches at CA wineries.

Why are we flooded with CA olives, but not olive oil? We get both from Europe; why not CA? Is there no market for domestic olive oil? Does CA grow some variety that makes lousy olive oil?

WAGS:[ul][li]It’s probably more profitable to sell the whole olives[/li][li]Like champagne, olive oil is made from the lowest quality fruit. California probably just grows the “pretty” high-quality ones.[/li][li]There’re no virgins left in California. :D[/ul][/li]

Wrong thinking is punished, right thinking is just as swiftly rewarded. You’ll find it an effective combination.

I think AWB’s got it nailed with his first two WAGS.

If you go to Italy or Spain or Greece, you’ll see miles and miles and miles of olive trees. Way too many olives for the nations’ martinis and tapenades. So they squoosh a lot and dress their salads and fry their fish with the resultant oil. And export a lot.

California olives are more of a boutique item. The groves are smaller, and they produce big beautiful tasty olives, suitable for bottling whole and selling at premium prices.


Incidentally, if you’re driving around southern California…say, between Oxnard and San Luis Obispo…you could do worse than to pull into one of those little olive groves and set yourself up with several jars.

The ones I’ve hit pickle and marinate them in dozens of different and delicious ways.

They probably also sell oil and infused oils. Probably for around twenty bucks a pint.


(I meant, of course, that you should stop at the FARM STAND and PURCHASE the olives. Please do not go into the orchard itself and attempt to fill your own jars when no one is looking.)

There’s some damn good Californian Olive Oils out there… Sciabica comes to mind. The grocery stores here in Colorado carry many varieties of Californian, as well as the imported stuff. Try a different store if you can’t find it.

A likely story. Do you still have the receipts for your olives?

A bit off topic:

I was driving down a street that was being repaved on one side. When I stopped at a light there was a work truck parked beside me filled with 55 gallon drums. I assumed these were filled with some petroleum product used in paving roads until I caught a glimpse of a small label on one of them. It said “Extra Virgin Olive Oil”!!! I know this is Southern California, and some of our denizens can be a bit extravagant, but I find it really hard to believe that we use olive oil for constuction and industrial purposes. Was the label a joke, or is olive oil actually used to pave roads?

I say string him up. Let him be a lesson to any other olive rustlers in these parts.

I wouldn’t think that CA olives are a boutique item. At the grocery stores I’ve investigated (one o’ the things I actually look into when I travel), CA olives seem to be more of the “garden variety” one-buck-a-can olives. Rows and rows of 'em. Euro-olives are sold more as a fancy-shmancy gourmet item.

It seems to me that CA is overflowing with olives, if the grocery store shelves are any indication; so why aren’t grocery stores similary stocked in CA olive oil.

Coversely, grocery store shelves are bursting with Euro-olive oils, but Euro-olives themselves are restricted to the much more expensive gourmet varieties.

I recognize that there is some CA olive oil that is carried by more upscale grocery stores and fancy feast mail order (inc. online) grocery stores. But, obviously, there isn’t enough for every HEB, Tom Thumb, Albertsons, Furr’s, etc., to stock it as a standard consumer choice.


Before asphalt is layed, the compacted gravel underneath is wet with oil. This is to improve the adhesion to the substrate. Generally reconditioned used motor oil is employed in this process, though there is a thinned version of asphalt produced specificly for this application.

What you saw was most likely a recycled drum being used to store recycled oil for the paving company.

Don’t forget that importing olive oil is the customary front for all Mafia businesses, too. Most of what you see on the supermarket shelf is only there to launder drug money and ill-gotten gains from prostitution, intimidation, numbers rackets, etc.

Enjoy your salad!

p.s. In the movie Popeye, with Robin Williams, Olive Oyl (Shelley Duvall) was from Malta.

I’m a vegetarian once removed. I only eat meat from animals that are vegetarians.

That must be it. Now I’m trying to figure out who buys their olive oil in 55 gallon drums. Is this something you can pick up at Price Club or CostCo? I guess it would make sense for a high volume Italian Restaurant.

…or maybe, (If Pluto’s right about the Mafia connection) the drums are actually used to transport the remains of murder victims to be buried under two feet of asphalt.

Most likely the oil is put into drums at the orchard and sent to bottling plants that way.