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San Joaquin Valley Olive Oil Competition Underway
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Entries are now being accepted for the seventh annual San Joaquin Valley Olive Oil Competition (SJVOOC). Extra Virgin Olive Oil and Flavored Olive Oil entries from commercial producers in the State of California are eligible and olive oil must be made from producers’ most recent olive harvest. Deadline for entries is March 25, 2022.

“The San Joaquin Valley Olive Oil Competition continues to draw in the best of olive oil producers from throughout California – and we are honored to continue to showcase and recognize them – especially those from the Valley with our special ‘Best of the Valley’ award,” said Stacy Rianda, Deputy Manager of The Big Fresno Fair.

Participating producers must enter their harvest into one of two different classes: Extra Virgin Olive Oil and Flavored Olive Oil. Competition categories in the Extra Virgin Olive Oil class include: Spanish Blends (arbequina, arbosana, etc.); Spanish Singles; Italian Blends (ascolano, etc.); Italian Singles; Other Blends (picholine, barouni, etc.); Other Singles. Competition categories in the Flavored Olive Oil class include: Citrus; Herbal (rosemary; basil, etc.); Pepper (chile, jalapeno, habanero, etc.); and Other Flavors (garlic, truffle etc.).

Awards will be given out for Gold and Silver medals in each category, as well as one overall “Best of Show” in both the Extra Virgin Olive Oil category, Flavored Oil category and the “Best of the Valley” award. Judging will be evaluated and scored as follows:

Gold Medal: Awarded to an olive oil that demonstrates its type and/or varietal character, balance, structure and complexities to the highest standards. Gold Medals will be awarded to those oils receiving scores between 86 – 100 points.

Silver Medal: Awarded to an olive oil reflecting the correct distribution of balance and character of its type or variety; an oil deemed to be well crafted and of excellent quality. Silver Medals will be awarded to those oils receiving scores between 76- 85.99 points.

Best of Show: Awarded to an olive oil recognized to possess special characteristics of the highest quality overall. All Gold Medal winners are eligible to compete for Best of Show in their division.

Best of the Valley: Awarded to the oil that scored the highest with the ranch or office located in the San Joaquin Valley. Medals will be awarded for both EVOO and flavored oils. Kern, Tulare, Kings, Fresno, Madera, Merced, Stanislaus and San Joaquin counties are eligible.

Producers may submit multiple entries under one category but may not submit a particular entry to more than one category. All entries must be available for commercial sale at the time of entry. Entries are due by March 25, 2022. Judging will be held on April 6, 2022 and winners will be announced on April 14, 2022 by 5 p.m.

Gold Medal, Best of the Valley and Best of Show winners will all have the opportunity to have a booth in the Wells Fargo Agricultural Building on one day during the 2022 Big Fresno Fair where they can taste, display and sell their award-winning product. Additionally, educational information will be set up so that Fairgoers can learn more about the art of making olive oil, its health benefits and more.

Each submission must include an entry form, at least two 250 ml bottles of the olive oil with retail labels attached and a $60 non-refundable fee per entry. Each entry must also contain a third-party chemical analysis in order to verify extra virgin status. Entries can be dropped off at The Big Fresno Fair Administration Office or can be shipped to SJVOOC – The Big Fresno Fair, 1121 S. Chance Ave., Fresno, CA 93702 no later than 4:30 p.m. on March 25, 2022. Any entry delivered by mail, freight or express must be prepaid. The Administration Office is open Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. for drop offs.

Last year, 55 entries from all throughout California were received. Below is a list of the Gold Medal Winners and Best of Show. For a complete 2021 winners list, go to:

The 2021 Best of Show Flavored award went to Calivirgin Serrano of San Joaquin County.

For more information about the San Joaquin Valley Olive Oil Competition (SJVOOC), including downloadable entry forms and deadlines, visit, email questions to or call The Big Fresno Fair office at (559) 650-FAIR.

Founded in 1884, The Big Fresno Fair is the fourth largest fair in the state of California and represents the 21st District Agricultural Association. More than 600,000 people from throughout the state visit The Big Fresno Fair each year making it the largest annual event in the Central Valley.