Over the past decade, consumption of olive oil in the United States has risen by one hundred and ten percent. The unfortunate truth is that not all olive oils are created equally. In fact, the majority of imported olive oils available in todays market are cut and laced with many substances that are nearly impossible for the average consumer to taste; vegetable oil, sunflower oil and even deodorized lampante, or “lamp oil,” (which is made from the spoiled olives that have been pulled from the ground rather than picked from the trees).
The solution? Find a local, quality purveyor. Supporting the small growers who make distinctive, premium oils by placing the emphasis on quality can and will hamstring the larger fraudulent companies.
An example of a local high quality purveyor is Dean “Dino” Cortopassi. The son of Italian immigrants from the town of Lucca, Italy, Cortopassi grew up on Eight Mile Road in Central Valley California where he worked on his family farm and cultivated a passion for agriculture. He attended UC Davis for two years in the Agricultural program and decided to pursue farming as a career.
Inspired by a passion for quality, for he emulated a process for planting and harvesting olives similar to grapes. Trellising olives in vineyard-style rows allows the sun exposure to reach more of the fruit, which in turn ensures the quality was higher and the the fresh “extra virgin olive oil” flavor was preserved.
Corto mainly does direct business with the restaurant industry, but thankfully he is now selling their Extra Virgin Olive Oil to the public in a 3 Liter Bag-in-Box. (Another benefit of Corti oil is the packaging; the bag eliminates the small pocket of air found in bottles, which ensures the freshness for a much longer duration of time).
I was just at the Corto Olive co. and not only was his farm in immaculate condition, but the fresh olive oil that came from olives harvested just a few hours before was incredible. The quality was truly amazing.