After extensive judging of submitted California-produced olive oils, The Big Fresno Fair is excited to reveal the winners of the popular San Joaquin Valley Olive Oil Competition (SJVOOC), which returned after being canceled in 2020 amid the statewide shelter-in-place order due to COVID-19, which made judging impossible. The SJVOOC, which is open to all olive oil producers in California with products made from their 2020 olive harvest, received a total of 55 entries from 17 different olive oil producers from throughout the State.
Entries were received in two categories, Extra Virgin Olive Oil (EVOO) and Flavored Olive Oil, with 10 classes in total. Gold and Silver Medals were awarded, as well as an overall “Best of Show” and “Best of the Valley” selected from all of the highest scoring gold medal entries in both categories. In total there were 42 EVOO and 13 Flavored Olive Oil entries that were entered for judging.
“Despite a challenging 2020 harvest due to worker shortages caused by COVID-19 restrictions and an extremely hot and dry year in California, we could not be more pleased with the showing of these amazing olive oil producers,” said Stacy Rianda, Deputy Manager II at The Big Fresno Fair. “It’s such an exciting feeling to bring back the San Joaquin Valley Olive Oil Competition that recognizes and rewards some of the best olive oil producers throughout California.”
Gold Medal and Best of Show winners will have the opportunity to have a booth in the Wells Fargo Agriculture Building on one day during a weekend at the 2021 Big Fresno Fair or have a booth at the Fair’s Beer and Wine Festival on Saturday, October 9. At either location, they will have the opportunity to display and sell their award-winning product. Additionally, educational information will be set up so that Fairgoers can learn more about the art of making olive oil, its health benefits, recipes and more.
Participants in the 2021 SJVOOC were evaluated and scored on the following criteria:
- Gold Medal: Awarded to an oil that demonstrates its type and/or varietal character, balance, structure and complexities to the highest standards. Gold Medals will be awarded to those oils receiving scores between 86 – 100 points.
- Silver Medal: Awarded to an oil reflecting the correct distribution of balance and character of its type or variety; an oil deemed to be well crafted and of excellent quality. Silver Medals will be awarded to those oils receiving scores between 76- 85.99 points.
- Best of Show: Awarded to an oil recognized to possess special characteristics of the highest quality overall. All Gold medal winners will be eligible to compete for Best of Show in their division.
- Best of the Valley: Awarded to the oil that scored the highest with the ranch or office located in the San Joaquin Valley. Medals will be awarded for both EVOO and flavored oils. (Kern, Tulare, Kings, Fresno, Madera, Merced, Stanislaus and San Joaquin Counties eligible).
Details about the 2022 SJVOOC and its entry application will be posted in February 2022.