Olive oil all-stars

Oroville’s Berkeley Olive Grove 1913 weighs in; plus, Joel Salatin comes to Chico

Darro Grieco and Olivia Newsome-Grieco

Darro Grieco and Olivia Newsome-Grieco

PHOto courtesy of darro grieco

Oroville olive all-stars
Darro Grieco called me the other day to say that he and his wife, Olivia Newsome-Grieco, recently had the honor of serving their organic olive oil at Gov. Jerry Brown’s inaugural reception, held Jan. 3 at the California State Railroad Museum in Old Sacramento.

The couple’s Oroville company, Berkeley Olive Grove 1913, was recommended by one of the event’s sponsors, Whole Foods Market in Berkeley, where their olive oil is available for sale.

“The theme [of the reception] was a mock farmers’ market,” said Grieco, “with a focus on organic California specialty agriculture. We were demonstrating our product as you would at a farmers’ market.” Approximately 25 vendors from all over the state were invited to attend, he said, such as small producers of cheese, fruits, salad greens and other vegetables.

Grieco and Newsome-Grieco brought along their freshly pressed olio nuovo for the prestigious event, as well as bread from Chico’s Tin Roof Bakery & Café for dipping.

“Many people came by [our table],” Grieco said, “including, of course, Jane Dolan and Bob Mulholland.” As for Brown, “he got within about 15 feet of us, but he got inundated by people wanting to interview him. He didn’t get to go around the room and eat much.” His administrative assistant, however, took some olive oil and bread for him for later.

“It was an opportunity, really, to talk about [our business] and kind of highlight the Oroville area,” Grieco offered. “It’s little-known, but this is a great olive oil area.”

Call 533-1814 or visit www.berkeleyolivegrove.com for more info on Berkeley Olive Grove 1913 and its award-winning oils.

Famous farmer Joel Salatin.

Photo courtesy of Carol Albrecht

Big food news
Joel Salatin, internationally known sustainable farmer and speaker from Virginia, will be in Chico to give a talk—“The Power of Local Food”—on the evening of Jan. 17 at the Chico Family Masonic Center. Salatin has been featured in widely known healthful-food films Food, Inc. and Fresh: The Movie, as well as in Michael Pollan’s New York Times bestselling book, The Omnivore’s Dilemma.

“The thing that is most exceptional about Joel Salatin is that he has revolutionized the food movement and farming at the same time,” said Carol Albrecht, co-owner of Oroville’s Chaffin Family Orchards, sponsor of Salatin’s talk. “At a time when huge farms had taken over and small family farmers needed off-farm jobs to survive, Joel came on the scene and showed us how to make a living wage dealing directly with the consumer on a small property in a sustainable manner. Joel’s system yanks the farmer out from under the thumb of big corporations while at the same time healing the land and creating products that heal people. As if that were not enough, he is incredibly articulate and hysterically funny.”

Go to http://chaffinorchards.eventbrite.com for more info and to buy tickets.

Head to Nevada City
That’s where the ninth annual Wild and Scenic Film Festival will take place Jan. 14-16. The popular event will feature 110 films on timely topics such as water, wildlife, climate change and environmental justice, as well as special guests such as Patagonia founder Yvon Chouinard, poet Gary Snyder and National Geographic filmmaker Jon Bowermaster. See www.wildandscenicfilmfestival.org for festival schedule and tickets.