Big Fresno Fair Announces New San Joaquin Valley Olive Oil Competition

Taylor Hillman General

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The Big Fresno Fair is proud to announce that it is launching the inaugural San Joaquin Valley Olive Oil Competition (SJVOOC) in partnership with the California Olive Oil Council. The competition is open to all olive oil producers in the state of California with olive oil made from the most recent olive harvest. There will be two classes for entries: Extra Virgin Olive Oil and Flavored Olive Oil. Awards will be given out for Gold and Silver medals in each category, as well as one overall “Best of Show.” Entries are now being accepted and the deadline to enter is May 8, 2015.

“At The Big Fresno Fair we pride ourselves on showcasing the best in Fresno County and beyond, and by adding this competition we are able to now showcase the quality and variety of top-notch olive oil producers we have right here in Fresno County and throughout the state,” said Stacy Rianda, Deputy Manager at The Big Fresno Fair. “This has been in the works for a while and we are expecting a great turnout of entries for our first year. We know that this competition will continue to grow and flourish as it progresses.”

Competition categories in the Extra Virgin Olive Oil class include: Historical Blends (mission, manzanillo, etc.); Historical Singles; Spanish Blends (arbequina, arbosana, etc.); Spanish Singles; Tuscan Blends (frantoio, leccino, coratina, etc.); Tuscan Singles; Italian Blends (ascolano, etc.); Italian Singles; Other Blends (picholine, barouni, etc.); and Other Singles. Competition categories in the Flavored Olive Oil class include: Citrus; Herbal (rosemary, basil, etc.); and Other Flavors (chile, jalapeno, garlic, etc.). Judging will be evaluated and scored as follows:
 Gold Medal: Awarded to an olive 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 olive 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 points.
 Best of Show: Awarded to an olive oil recognized to possess special characteristics of the highest quality overall. Producers may submit multiple entries under one category but may not submit a particular entry to more than one category. All entries must be available for commercial sale at the time of submittal. Judging will be held on May 21 and 22, 2015 at the California Olive Oil Council, headquartered in Berkeley. The judging panel will be comprised of six olive oil sensory experts provided by the California Olive Oil Council. Winners will be announced on May 29, 2015.

Winners of the Gold and Silver Medals, as well as the recipient of the “Best of Show” award will have the opportunity to have a booth in the Wells Fargo Agricultural Building on both Saturdays and Sundays during the 2015 Big Fresno Fair where they can display and sell their award-winning product. Additionally, educational booths will be set up so that Fairgoers can learn more about the art of making olive oil, its health benefits, recipes and more.

Each submission must include an entry form, at least two 250 ml bottles of the olive oil with retail labels attached and a $60 non-refundable fee per entry. Entries can be dropped off at The Big Fresno Fair Administration Office or can be shipped to SJVOOC – The Big Fresno Fair, 1121 S. Chance Ave. Fresno, CA 93702 no later than 5 p.m. on May 8, 2015. Any entry delivered by mail, freight or express must be prepaid. The Administration Office is open Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. for drop offs. For more information about the new San Joaquin Valley Olive Oil Competition (SJVOOC), including downloadable entry forms and deadlines, please visit, email questions to or call The Big Fresno Fair office at (559) 650-FAIR.

About The Big Fresno Fair:
The Big Fresno Fair, founded in 1884, is the fifth largest fair in the state of California and represents the 21st District Agricultural Association. More than 650,000 people from throughout the state visit The Big Fresno
Fair each year making it the largest event in the Central Valley. Members of the Board of Directors include:
Leta Ciavaglia, President; Debbie Jacobsen, Vice President; Jerry Pacheco, Secretary/Treasurer; Elizabeth Hudson; Linda Mae Balakian Hunsucker; Larry Serpa; Ricky Vang; Dora Westerlund and William White.

John C. Alkire heads the daily operations in his role as CEO. The 2015 Big Fresno Fair will run October 7 – 18. For more information about The Big Fresno Fair, please visit