Tehama Blend wins Best of Show at Los Angeles International Olive Oil Competition 2017

One of our olive oils has won the Best of Show at the prestigious Los Angeles International competition for second year in a row. This time it was our Tehama Blend, which won first a Gold Medal, then Best of Class and eventually was Best of Show in the robust category.

The competition had an international jury of 18 judges, from the US, Spain, Italy, New Zealand, Australia, Chile, Argentina and Japan.

There were 600 olive oils from 369 producers. The olive oils from California were 203, the largest number from a single place, followed by Spain and Italy.

As we mentioned in other entries, this past season has been very difficult for California producers. Discussing with colleagues from Italy and Spain, it seems that the same happened in Europe. We had to struggle with quite adverse weather patterns, rains and scarcity of olives.

This was reflected in the gold medals awarded, 131 for both domestic and international olive oils and just 21 for olive oils from California (a good number, around 14, of gold medals was given to flavored oils from California). The best of class for domestic olive oils were only 3, against 18 from abroad.

Continue reading Tehama Blend wins Best of Show at Los Angeles International Olive Oil Competition 2017

Posted on Categories Awards, General, In the News

Pacific Sun Olive Oils – Under the microscope 2017

Every year we present the chemical analysis of our olive oils. All extra virgin olive oils need to pass a chemical analysis to be certified EVOO.

These analyses can tell quite a bit about the oil’s quality. Once the oil passes these tests, a panel of judges gives the final word after a collective blind tasting. If the statistics resulting from the individual tastings find the oil holds positive attributes and is free of defects, the olive oil in question will be certified EVOO.

These standards were set in the EU at the beginning of the 1990s and they’re still under debate. It’s mostly producers like Pacific Sun Farms and our fellow small to medium producers in California, and the world, that are pushing for stricter standards.

So far, in the U.S., we don’t have a law enforcing EVOO standards. However, along with members of the California Olive Oil Council (COOC), we follow similar standards as those set by the International Olive Council (IOC). Continue reading Pacific Sun Olive Oils – Under the microscope 2017

Enjoying Pacific Sun Olive Oils / 2016 Harvest Tehama Blend


An Oil of Great Character

This year, among the very good olive oils we made, Tehama Blend is the one that seems to me the most achieved. It’s an olive oil of great character and unusual vividness.

Picual and Mission Shine with Proper Milling Techniques

Also, it’s an interesting case in terms of its two cultivars, Picual and Mission (present in the blend in equal parts), which have come into their own just recently with proper milling techniques.

Picual is an Andalusian cultivar. Its presence in Southern Spain is enormous. Picture that just the province of Jaen alone makes approximately 20–25% of the olive oil of the entire world and almost 90% is Picual. When mass made, with no care, with over-ripe olives and milled with high temperatures (an extended practice to maximize yields), Picual tends to have initial degrees of fermentations and can be very unpleasant.

In the past, Mission, our Californian variety, was not seen with much esteem either. Most of the olive oils made out of it were unpleasantly bitter or plain flat and often with not elegant aromas and short shelf lives. Continue reading Enjoying Pacific Sun Olive Oils / 2016 Harvest Tehama Blend

Olive Oil Tasting and Other Sensory Analysis

In a recent dinner with friends, one of them asked what I thought about a wine she brought. She assumed that because I’m an olive oil taster I’d give an authoritative opinion about it. Once I thanked her for her trust, I explained that not only I’m not an expert in wine by any means; olive oil tasting and wine tasting are altogether different things.

This was not the first time I’ve been in this situation as I witnessed also the opposite: good wine tasters or winemakers assuming they can offer a solid opinion about olive oil because they’re good at wine tasting.

The core of olive oil tasting is assessing quality. That’s the most important part. The taster is trained in detecting defects and to appreciate positive attributes (fruit-perfumes, bitterness and pungency). That’s the basis for evaluating EVOO.

While it is true that in sensory analysis of other products the detection of defects is an important part of it, once it’s done, the rest of the tasting is of a different nature. This is because good wines, good beer or good chocolate can have differences in their chemical composition, though this does not count as much as it counts in olive oil.

The other important factor is that in those cases, due to the development of those industries and also from consumer knowledge, those products are rarely defective. Good, solid practices based on research have been established and the tasting is then mostly dedicated to see how we’ll enjoy the product of the tasting. Continue reading Olive Oil Tasting and Other Sensory Analysis

News from the Mill ~ The Year of the Mission Olive

After almost two months we’re approaching the end of the milling season. As always, we’re both tired and happy. Obviously tired from many long days of hard work and happy for having endured and made good EVOO along the way.

As we explained previously, this was one of the most challenging seasons we ever had. A lighter crop, adverse weather patterns (specially the abundant rain in October and November), low yields.

On top of that, a large Australian company arrived in California and had a policy of out pricing the market and thus grabbing orchards that were working with other producers, including us. This had seriously affected us, both in terms of quantity and quality.

Nevertheless, as we say in my country, there’s not bad thing that does not bring a good thing and that, somehow happened. This year, due to the loss of some orchards and certain cultivars, we finally were able to tap into the potential of the Mission olive, something I’ve been wanting to do for a while. Continue reading News from the Mill ~ The Year of the Mission Olive

Posted on Categories General

Sunset Magazine Features Pacific Sun Farms Olive Oil

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Thank you to Sunset Magazine for featuring us in your January 2017 issue!

Sunset featured our Tuscan Blend, which is our most awarded olive oil. Our Tuscan Blend is currently available in 250ml and 500ml bottles.

We also have wonderful Olive Oil gifts for the holidays.

Sunset Magazine is the Western United States premiere home and lifestyle magazine with a “focus on travel destinations in the 13 Western states, home design and outdoor living ideas suited to our region, and recipes and menus that celebrate the West.”

2016 – A Challenging Season

In November of 2014 we posted an entry with the same title as this one. Once again we face a similar situation that demands the use of all our talents and resources in order to meet our production needs.

Olive trees have a natural tendency to be bi-annual. If consistent and clever pruning does not take place, orchards over-produce one year and under-produce the next, as happened this time.

On top of that, the same factors we mentioned in 2014 keep defying the viability of the good value our olive oils have been known for. Climate change is one of those. Due to winters not as cold as before, trees don’t rest enough and thus became less productive. Continue reading 2016 – A Challenging Season

Posted on Categories General, Harvesting

Herb “Jam” from Chef Russell Moore

A perfect, simple recipe for enjoying olive oil: Herb Jam

This Moroccan recipe appeared first in Paula Wolfert’s book “The Slow Mediterranean Kitchen.” More recently chef Russell Moore enhanced it by exploring other greens and herbs. Eventually, his own versions of the herb jam became favorites at his celebrated farm to table restaurant Camino, in the Lake Merritt district of Oakland, California.

Russ, for many years the sous chef at legendary Chez Panisse in Berkeley who generously opens his place for internships and for other chefs to cook with him, uses Pacific Sun Farms olive oils on a regular basis. I know firsthand that he’s been also a great teacher for younger chefs. In fact, some of them, now in other excellent restaurants or new places they’ve opened themselves, are also our clients and their work carries the spirit they learned at Camino.

I suggested to Russ to try the recipe with our Proprietor’s Select and with another Italian olive oil of a friend of mine with similar characteristics. He kindly accepted the suggestion and liked the results in both cases: “Given the fresh leafy perfumes of these fine olive oils, I found them ideal for this recipe.”

Continue reading Herb “Jam” from Chef Russell Moore

Posted on Categories General, Recipes

Black Olive Tapenade

Years ago, because of my job, I visited the Southern area of France known as the Cote d’Azur, also referred to as the French Riviera. In my free time I enjoyed visiting open air markets, and my memory of them inevitably brings the image of this bright, glowing black olive purée displayed in ceramic bowls. It was tapenade.

Some foods have the distinctive characteristic of expressing a sense of place. Tapenade is one of them. The way its ingredients blend together always reminds me of those lively markets in beautiful Nice or Antibes and of something with a long, long history.

Though olives (most of the time black olives) are the main ingredient in tapenade, the name comes from another essential Mediterranean ingredient: capers. “Tapeno” was the word for capers in the Occitan language, a Romance language spoken in Southern France and parts of bordering Italy and Spain. Continue reading Black Olive Tapenade

Posted on Categories General, Recipes