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Always in Season: Olive Oil FW_AIS15_Enzo_1280x642_downsized

Always in Season: Olive Oil

Always in Season: Olive Oil
Find a bit of the Mediterranean in the sunny Central Valley

California is often labeled as having a “Mediterranean climate,” with short, wet winters separated by a sunny and dry spring, summer, and fall. So it’s no surprise that one of the Mediterranean’s most recognizable crops—olives—thrives in California too. And with the increased demand in quality olive oils—both from fine chefs, home cooks, and even gift givers—it’s easy to understand why olive orchards are tended all over the state.

One olive producer with roots that stretch back to the Mediterranean is P-R Farms Inc., located in the Central Valley near Fresno. In 1914, Vincenzo Ricchiuti left Italy and started farming here; later his son Pat bought the property. Crops include 400 acres of organically tended olive trees, the source of the family’s estate-grown, milled, and bottled Enzo Olive Oil. The oil’s distinctive grassy flavor and richness make it a popular choice for premier chefs, such as Jon Shook and Vinny Dotolo of Animal in Los Angeles, who use it in savory dishes as well as a traditional olive oil cake.

Enzo Olive Oil is ultra fresh, thanks to the company’s local mill. “We’re able to run every olive within 24 hours after it’s picked,” notes Pat’s son Patrick, who has also joined the company. And now, visitors can easily sample that freshness at Enzo’s Table, a retail store in the charming Central Valley town of Clovis, just northeast of Fresno. The store sells a range of Enzo organic olive oils, as well as organic balsamic vinegars. You can also shop for premium, locally grown fruits, nuts, and produce, and foodie gift items. (Products are also sold online.) If you time your visit for lunch, you’re in luck: Enzo’s parking lot has become a food truck hub—with many of the food truck chefs using Enzo Olive Oil in their dishes.

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Laura Flippen

Central California

Discover the Central Valley

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12
November
Average (°C)
Sept - Nov
32°
High
6°
Low
Dec - Feb
16°
High
3°
Low
Mar - May
28°
High
7°
Low
June - Aug
36°
High
16°
Low

California’s heartland offers up one of the state’s most authentic and sensory-rich experiences, a chance to see—and taste—the state’s bounty at every turn. Follow oak-shaded country roads to farm stands overflowing with fresh produce, and meander along wine trails to some of the state’s most productive vineyards and low-key tasting rooms.

Peaches, plums, apricots, and tomatoes—just some of the ultra-fresh produce you will find at farm stands throughout the valley.

Throughout the broad valley, stretching for over 400 miles/644 kilometers down the middle of the state, are cities and towns rich with history, international culture, and “everyone’s welcome” charm. 

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Lake Berryessa, located just outside of Winters, has a sunken city underneath it called Monticello.
SPECIAL FEATURE
Harvest season is a time of celebration (and good eats) in California’s agricultural heartland.

Home to many signature festivals and events, the Central Valley shines brightest around harvest season.

"After all, this is one of the world’s most bountiful agricultural

...
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Alex Farnum

Davis

You don’t have to be a student to enjoy the perks of this ag-oriented college town

Eco-friendly, liberal leaning, progressive, impressive professor’s homes and fraternity houses—Davis has the hallmarks of a classic college...

SPECIAL FEATURE
Farm-fresh produce, culinary adventures

Juicy heirloom tomatoes and just-picked strawberries. Super-sweet peaches shaped like mini Ufos. Artisanal cheeses, emerald-green olive oils, local wildflower honey—California’s farmers’ markets...

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Laura Flippen
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Laura Flippen

Haggin Museum

Local history merges with world-renowned art at this must-see museum in Stockton’s Victory Park

Housed in an early-19th-century brick building, this handsome art and history museum is the centerpiece of Stockton’s stately Victory Park. The 34...

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Kodiak Greenwood

Gray Lodge Wildlife Area

Map of Shasta Cascade
Some 300 species of birds and mammals make this a mecca for outdoor enthusiasts

Located on the Pacific Flyway 60 miles north of Sacramento, Gray Lodge encompasses 9,200 acres surrounded by agricultural flatlands and...

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Harriot Manley/ Sunset Publishing

Houseboating

Take to the water on a deluxe floating home

In California, it’s hard to talk about houseboating without talking about the Central Valley. One of the state’s premier places for vacationing in...

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Harriot Manley/Sunset Publishing

California Delta

A boater’s and fisherman’s paradise awaits

Located northeast of the San Francisco Bay, this 1,000-mile network of inland waterways—the major drainage from the snow-capped Sierra Nevada to...

Lodi Wine Country
Dale Goff Photography

Lodi Wine Country

Sample the city’s famous Zinfandels after a day of outdoor fun

Best known for big red wines, particularly old-vine Zinfandels, the American Viticultural Area of...

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Harriot Manley/ Sunset Publishing

Fresno

Discover agriculture and culture in the valley's biggest city

The Central Valley’s largest city makes for a surprisingly lively getaway. Seven stadiums and a pair of arenas satisfy sporty types, and an annual...

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The 10 acres of rooms, passages and gardens at Fresno's Forestiere Underground Gardens were excavated by hand using only farming tools.
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Courtesy of Buck Owens Crystal Palace

Bakersfield

Experience California’s oil-rich history, with Basque food and country western music on the side

This rapidly growing city in the southern Central Valley is full of pleasant surprises. Once known for oil and...

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Ian Dagnall/Alamy

Bakersfield's Noriega Hotel

California's Central Valley
This classic Basque restaurant is a must-try in Bakersfield

When Spaniards began descending on Bakersfield in the 1800s, searching for gold and herding sheep, they brought with them an...

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Derrell McCain/Alamy

Best Kept Secret: Solano County

See why this Central Valley region holds its own in terms of good wine, pretty countryside, and cool activities

A treasure awaits about 20 miles east of Napa, in a lovely but largely “secret” area of sprawling countryside and bayfront beauty. This is...