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History of Olive Oil

Olive Oil HistoryOlive oil has been documented in ancient literature as a source of sustenance and healing to peoples of the Mediterranean region. Homer even reveres olive oil as “liquid gold” in The Illiad. At Temecula Olive Oil Company, we have discovered that Southern California olive oil is indeed causing a gold rush.

The olive tree has its “roots” in the Mediterranean region as early as 8000 BC and the juice of the olive fruit has been evidenced as early as 3500 BC to provide a source of food and healing. Olive oil has also been used in religious ceremonies from ancient until modern times and was so esteemed that it has even been discovered in tombs of Egyptian kings. The economic importance of olive oil from ancient times cannot be underestimated.

The hardiness of the olive tree and its centuries-long lifespan contribute to the spread of its cultivation throughout Western civilization. The tree’s deep and wide root system enable its survival in dry climates near the sea where the salt content of the underground water supply is high. Perhaps it is this knowledge that encouraged the Spanish missionaries to bring olive trees with them to The New World in the 16th Century knowing they could provide a source of economic sustenance and cultivate olives for olive oil to be used in their religious practices.

In 1769, Spanish missionaries planted the first Southern California olive groves at Mission San Diego de Alcala. The soil and climate are as ideal to support the growth of olive trees as the soil and climate in the Mediterranean. By the late 1700’s, Southern California olive oil was reported in the writings of Alexander von Humboldt to be “equal to that of Andalusia,” a coastal region in Spain where the climate is also similar to the Mediterranean.

Southern California olive oil was first produced commercially in the early 1800’s and is revered for its quality, rivaling that produced in the Mediterranean region. Today, family-owned and operated Temecula Olive Oil Company , whose ranch is located near coastal San Diego, where the first olive groves were planted in Southern California, produces premium Southern California olive oil using a cold, hand pressing process like that which was used in ancient times. Every drop of extra virgin olive oil produced by Temecula Olive Oil Company every season is consumed and those who have tasted Temecula Olive Oil Company’s quality products rush back for more. Taste for yourself the extra virgin olive oil, olive oil blends, fine balsamic vinegars and artisan foods that are crafted by hand at Temecula Olive Oil Company. Taste the rush of liquid gold.