Oil me up

I recently met some local olive-oil producers with the staff of the UC Davis Olive Center, part of the Robert Mondavi Institute for Wine and Food Science. I asked executive director Dan Flynn what his department does and what we should know about olive oil.

“We provide research and education to improve the quality and understanding of California table olives and oil. We’re trying to educate consumers about high-quality olive oil.

“Much of what people think of as extra-virgin olive oil doesn’t meet the international standard. The California Olive Oil Council adopted that standard for California this year, but unfortunately there’s no enforcement.

“California only produces 1 percent of the overall U.S. consumption of olive oil. This is the time of year to buy olio nuovo (freshly pressed olive oil) though, since it’s being milled right now.”