News From The Ranch

EVOO with Fresh Herbs
Find A Store Near You

Enter to win a boatload of Healthy Pantry Essentials and a $500 Nike gift card to start your exercise routine in style. 

We have only a few cases left of this very special extra virgin olive oil. Get your bottle before it's gone!  

Click here to find a collection of healthy recipes to make New Year, New You a reality!

Our crack milling team played a starring role in the recent success of our record-breaking olive harvest.

Facebook fan Julian Brunt shared this delicious photo of his recent lunch: "Roasted sweet potato, rosemary, fresh Parm, and California Olive Ranch unfiltered EVOO." We highlight one fan a month. Please send your photo to or post on Facebook.

Happy New Year! We're still basking in the afterglow of our fall harvest - our largest on record. Now that it's done, our crews are catching up on other projects, like equipment maintenance. Our olive trees, meanwhile, have entered a semi-dormant state to endure the colder winter temperatures.  

After all the fabulous foods we indulged in over the holidays, we're keen to get off to a healthy start in 2014. Call it a "New Year, New You." We'll make healthy choices in the foods we eat, using a Mediterranean-style diet as our blueprint; but we'll stock our healthy pantry with essentials from Made-in-America companies, like Bob's Red Mill, Muir Glen Organic, and more. We'll exercise regularly, too.

Among our New Year's resolutions:

*    Eat plenty of plant-based foods, including veggies and fruits, grains, beans, nuts, and seeds
*    Pick minimally processed and, wherever possible, seasonally fresh and locally grown foods
*    Make heart-healthy extra virgin olive oil our main dietary fat (naturally!)
*    Favor fish and poultry over red meat
*    Cook plenty of meals at home - versus going out frequently to restaurants
*    Eat mindfully and only when we're hungry; we'll stop when we feel satisfied ... versus full

As we noted, olive oil will play a major role in our meals, given its many health benefits. To talk more about that, we spoke with Mary Flynn, an associate professor of medicine at Brown University. She's a nationally recognized expert on the health benefits of extra virgin olive oil, particularly when it comes to weight loss and fighting cancer.  She's developed a weight-loss diet that showcases extra virgin olive oil and veggies.

Have a Happy and Healthy 2014! 
New Year, New You Recipes
Seafood Stew
Seafood Stew Seafood is a staple of the Mediterranean diet. This bright, pure seafood stew - courtesy of Food52 - comes together in just 20 minutes. It's perfumed with tomatoes, aromatics, and herbs. Prepare it using our Everyday Fresh

Get recipe
Confetti Kale Slaw 
Confetti Kale Slaw Dig into a colorful, fresh slaw that's sweet and tangy. It combines several healthy foods:  kale, apples, greens, carrots, and celery. The recipe appears in the new cookbook from the famed Moosewood Restaurant: Moosewood Restaurant Favorites. Make the orange and lemon dressing using our fruity Arbequina.  

 Get recipe
Winter Squash Soup with Citrus-Mint Pesto 
Winter Squash Soup with Citrus-Mint Pesto With their brilliant orange-colored flesh, winter squashes are the kings of winter vegetables. They're also an important food source of carotenoids, a key antioxidant. This soup - from Viviane Bauquet Farre of food & style - has bright flavors and a silky-smooth texture. It's topped with a  citrus-mint pesto you could make with our Arbequina.   

 Get recipe
Chick Pea and Tomato Curry
Chick Pea and Tomato Curry Eat meatless with a simple and delicious dish of beans, fire-roasted tomatoes and curry that can be on your dinner table in 30 minutes.The recipe comes our friends Muir Glen Organic. In addition to flavor, one added benefit of this dish: Cooking tomatoes helps release lycopene, a potent antioxidant found in tomatoes and other red produce. Make the curry with our Everday Fresh

  Get recipe
Shrimp in Garlic Olive Oil and Chilies
Shrimp in Garlic Olive Oil and Chilies This healthful recipe contains just a handful of ingredients - but it delivers complex flavor. Olive oil is infused with garlic and chilies. The shrimp are cooked quickly in the infused oil. The dish appears in TV celebrity chef Anne Burrell's new book, Own Your Kitchen.   Use our Everyday Fresh to prepare the dish.

Get recipe
Sesame Stir-Fry Vegetables with Whole Grains

Sesame Stir Fry Vegetables with Whole Grains We're huge fans of whole grains, another staple of the Mediterranean diet. This Asian-themed dish - courtesy of food blogger Milisa Armstrong  and our friends Bob's Red Mill Natural Foods - combines a variety of whole grains, vegetables, and toasted almonds. Make it with our Everyday Fresh.
The Olive Oil Professor
Mary Flynn
Mary Flynn is a nationally recognized expert on the health benefits of extra virgin olive oil, particularly when it comes to weight loss and fighting cancer - notably breast and prostate cancers.  Flynn, a nutritionist, is an associate professor of medicine at Brown University. Over the past decade, she's researched the health benefits of olive oil and created a weight-loss regimen that showcases extra virgin olive oil and vegetables. She's co-authored a book about the fallacy of low-fat diets - Low-Fat Lies - and a cookbook based on her work with women with breast cancer, The Pink Ribbon Diet.

How did you become focused on extra virgin olive oil in your research?

I became interested in the mid 1980's. I'd read the papers from the so-called Seven Countries Study. The results showed that men on Crete ate more than 40 percent of their calories from fat, but it was mainly olive oil. Their heart disease rate was 80 percent less than American men, who ate slightly less total fat - but mainly as red meat.  I was working as a research dietitian.  The focus in the U.S. was just starting to be on low-fat diets. I didn't see low-fat diets as being useful for long-term weight loss.  The Seven Countries Study made me think - maybe it's not fat in the diet, but the source of fat. Every study I read on olive oil showed amazing health benefits.  Olive oil started my interest in how food can be used as medicine.

Why is olive oil so important in your plant-based olive oil diet? italain-food-items.jpg

The core of my diet is plant foods. Because olive oil is the juice of an olive, it fits in quite nicely.  All plant products contain phytonutrients, which protect the plant from things like UV rays, herbicides, pesticides, etc. In humans, phytonutrients have been tied to lowering the risk of chronic disease and to alleviating certain chronic diseases.  The more plant products you consume, the healthier your diet.  

How is cooking vegetables with extra virgin olive oil better than steaming or boiling?

From a health standpoint, fat is needed to absorb certain phytonutrients.  There are two main families of phytonutrients that are very healthy: carotenoids and glucosinolates.  Carotenoids give color to plant products. Glucosinolates are found in vegetables in the cruciferous family, such as cabbage, cauliflower, broccoli, Brussel sprouts, and kale. Both carotenoids and glucosinolates have been shown to possess powerful cancer-fighting proteins when there are sufficient amounts in the body.  Both need fat to be absorbed, so steaming or boiling vegetables with carotenoids or glucosinolates means they don't get into your body.  Cooking in olive oil means you'll get the health benefits of olive oil, plus you'll absorb the healthy components.  In addition, olive oil makes vegetables taste so much better than plain.  I find people eat more vegetables when they use olive oil to prepare them.

What advice would you give to people who want to prepare more healthy meals?

Include olive oil and use it to cook vegetables.  My rule of thumb is 1 tablespoon of olive oil per cup of vegetables.  I recommend 2 tablespoons of olive to make a dinner, so you would then be using at least 2 cups of vegetables.  The meals I recommend include olive oil, vegetables, plus a starch (pasta, rice/grains, potato); if you want to add poultry or seafood, fine. But I encourage people to eat a main meal that is plant-based, olive oil-rich two to three times a week for dinner.   I think it's also easier to lose weight when you eat less animal protein.  Including meat, poultry, or seafood daily means you're exceeding your daily protein needs.  Extra protein isn't stored as protein, but is instead converted to fat and stored as fat.  Eating plant-based meals means that you are getting enough protein, but not more than you need; so body weight is lower and weight loss is easier.

How do you like to use California Olive Ranch olive oil in your cooking? Veggie market in Heraklion

I use it daily in many ways. Extra virgin olive oil is the only oil I use, and I use California Olive Ranch daily.  I use it to cook my dinner - 2 tablespoons with at least 2 cups of vegetables. I also grow a fair amount of vegetables.  I cook or roast them when they are ripe and them freeze in freezer bags to use all winter.  I use it for baking.  Any recipe that calls for liquid oil can use olive oil.  I think it makes the best baked goods, like muffins and quick breads.  The texture/crumb of the product is better when olive oil is used versus any other fat.

What do you like to cook at home?

I love making up a new "recipe" for olive oil with different vegetables.  I always serve plant-based, olive oil recipes when I entertain.  I frequently have people ask me about something in the meal and they are obviously surprised to find out it was Brussels sprouts or broccoli roasted in olive oil, au gratin potatoes with olive oil used for the white sauce, or olive oil on a grain salad.  The conversation always starts something like: "The (name the food) was very good/delicious.  What's the flavor/ taste, etc.?"  When I tell them it's olive oil, I think I have won over yet another person to the daily use of olive oil.