From left are Ernie Roncoroni, a member of the Yolo County Fair board and co-founding member of the Olive Oil Competition, along with his wife Patty (not pictured); Kim Katz, holding several ribbons won in various divisions; and Albert Katz, holding the Patty Bogle-Roncoroni Award for Best of the Best. Courtesy photo

Agriculture + Environment

Suisun Valley ranch wins Yolo County Fair’s olive oil contest

By June 2, 2011

In memory of one of the Yolo County Fair’s Olive Oil Competition founders, a Best of the Best Award was created this year to honor Patty Bogle-Roncoroni, who was instrumental in developing the competition and served as a member of the Yolo County Fair board.

The competition, for California producers only, is ranked as one of the top three competitions in the state.

The new award is the final competition between the five division winners. The Patty Bogle-Roncoroni Award was presented to the KATZ Rock Hill Ranch Organic of Suisun Valley.

Albert and Kim Katz began their culinary journey in the East Bay by owning a restaurant in the Oakland hills that brought them 10 years of rewarding experiences. Albert was the chef, using produce from local farmers, and Kim provided fresh flower arrangements from local growers.

They both found that the quality of the ingredients made all the difference to the success of the presentation to their clientele, a news release said.

With an interest in a change of scenery and a serendipitous opportunity to explore a rebirth of the olive oil industry, the Katz family moved to the Napa Valley in the early ’90s. After a culinary visit to Italy, Albert found olive oil to be a fascinating world.

He became a part of a small group of enthusiastic pioneers who formed the California Olive Oil Council. Kim added her creative talents to package and graphic designs for their company.

Albert, as a pioneer in the California olive oil industry’s renaissance, has been producing California extra virgin olive oil since 2000. KATZ Rock Hill Ranch Organic is the premier product from this certified-organic, 20-acre estate in Suisun Valley, east of the Napa Valley.

Many factors contribute to the excellence of this year’s KATZ Rock Hill Ranch Organic extra virgin olive oil. The olive varietals are Taggiasca, Casaliva and Leccino, varietals originating from three different regions in Italy. The maturity of the trees, the area’s loamy soil, its distinctive microclimate with westerly breezes, and last summer’s cool weather all influenced the complexity of flavor found in this year’s award-winning oil.

But the biggest change at Rock Hill Ranch is the addition of French Redbro chickens pasturing among the olive trees. In an effort to advance sustainable agricultural practices, in the spring of 2010, chickens were introduced to the ranch using a movable housing technique, which allows them to be raised throughout the orchard.

The chickens reduce weeds and bugs among the trees, with the added benefit of fertilizing the soil.

“We wish to congratulate this year’s competitors, the divisional winners and the new Best of the Best, KATZ Rock Hill Ranch Organic,” contest organizers said.

Special to The Enterprise

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