Olives in California's Gold Country
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The history of the olive in the Gold Country of Northern California is a story of the Spanish in the New World, of the Gold Rush, of immigrants from Italy and other Mediterranean countries, of bold pioneers, enterprising farmers and scientists, and of businessmen and businesswomen. Focusing on Calaveras County in the south and Placer County in the north, but also exploring the olive throughout most of Northern California, including olive havens such as Corning and Oroville, that story is told within these pages through rare and fascinating photographs. For those who wish to explore the olive in Northern California, whether its history, industry or technology, this volume provides both an appetizer and a satisfying entree. As love of the olive grows, for the first time a book tells the tale of the olive tree, the king of trees, in the Mother Lode of California."
modified the automobile with “a sort of sliding drawer on back, hinged so that when extended, it became a six foot base over which I could erect a canvas cover as a tent.” He would camp under that tent. (Both, courtesy Sammis family and SPWCH.) 64 He carried a Pull-You-Out for when Li’l Henry was stuck in the mud, which was often, or on a steep grade: “You attached the cable to the front axle, drove two or three iron stakes in the nearest firm ground, hooked on the ratchet, turned the crank
moving to the Roseville/Citrus Heights area in Sacramento County. Selling olive oil for a local distributor led, in 1932, to Orsi building his own plant, once the largest in California. Far larger operations were centered in Butte County in Oroville, once known as Oliveville, and in Tehama County at Corning, which claims the title of “Olive City” and is home to the Bell Carter Olive Company, the world’s largest ripe olive cannery. From Calaveras to Corning, Roseville to Oroville, and in so many
more labor-intensive harvesting. (Below, courtesy Butte County Historical Society.) 98 Washing the olives is the next step in the process. In this c. 1916 photograph, the olives at Ehmann’s plant are being washed with water to remove all foreign matter before going to the crusher. The start of any olive production begins with, as the photograph’s original caption put it, “absolutely clean fruit.” (Courtesy Butte County Historical Society.) One of the most significant advances at Rocca Bella
custom milled, and cold pressed within 24 hours to provide the highest-possible quality. (Courtesy Monica Keller.) Apollo Olive Oil, located in Loma Rica, Yuba County, is among the few producers who make organic extra-virgin oil, unadulterated and cold pressed on a vacuum mill designed in Tuscany to preserve the highest levels of flavor, nutrients, and antioxidants. Steven Dambreck and Gianno Stefanini tend their trees with sustainable methods and harvest by hand. (Courtesy Apollo Olive Oil.)
soap, and ammonia. Moore and Williams manufactured and distributed the medicine, eventually advertised for “man or beast.” Whether HHH was useful to man is uncertain, but history has proved right about olive oil. Since 2004, the Food and Drug Administration has permitted the following statement on labels: “Limited and not conclusive scientific evidence suggests that eating about 2 tablespoons (23 grams) of olive oil daily may reduce the risk of coronary heart disease due to the monounsaturated