Crushing It, Lucero Style

 

Did you know that the most awarded olive oil producer is just a short drive away in Corning? Lucero Olive Oil has been awarded over 200 (200!) awards for their olive oil, and it is a title that they have worked very hard to attain.

The Lucero family has been growing olives for three generations; they began bottling and labeling their product in a garage in 2005. The family company has grown and expanded tremendously since then, with a beautiful tasting room and bottling/shipping/pressing warehouse just off I-5 in Corning. Not only do they make delicious olive oils and balsamic vinegars, they also put on one heck of a shindig.

Last weekend, they held their third annual Winter Crush event. There were local food artisans sampling and selling their goodies, a tour of the crushing process (complete with hairnets for all the visitors. I rocked that thing.), live music, a microbrew garden where they offered samples of several different breweries, and a couple food booths. Kinders was there and I enjoyed a smoky, tender pulled pork sandwich on a soft white roll from their booth. Bruciante was also representing from Redding, and we ordered the rosemary chicken pizza from their wood-fired oven. While I enjoyed the flavor of Lucero’s rosemary olive oil and the blistered crust, the pizza as a whole was pretty standard. The sauce was a tad sweeter than I like and the black olives didn’t seem quite suited for the pizza.

My favorite part of the event, as always, was the microbrew garden. I was a little pressed for time so I wasn’t able to swig away all afternoon like I would have preferred, but I was able to try a few samples that were pretty damn delightful.

First off, I enjoyed the Reason For the Season, a coffee cream stout from Wildcard Brewing in Redding. I have been meaning to pop into the tasting room when I am in Redding visiting my folks, and after sipping this delicious brew, I know I will make it happen the next time I’m in town. Next up was the Jamaica Red Ale from Mad River Brewing. It is a slightly bitter red ale with a nice hop bite and it poured out a lovely mahogany color. Lastly, I sipped a crisp, very lightly sweet, hopped apple cider from Square Mile Cider Company from Portland, OR. It was refreshing and I could have happily consumed a pint or two.

I look forward to the next event held at Lucero and I suggest you keep an eye out for it, as well. These events are free, family-friendly and they are a great way to get to know your local food producers.

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Jackie is a sometimes food-blogger that is trying to balance the world of mama-hood and her love of food by getting in the kitchen and whipping up edible bits for herself, her husband and her 1 year old and by writing here in this space. She likes to keep it local as much as she can, and you will probably see her cruising the Saturday farmer's market, coffee in hand (always), and chowing down at local restaurants. She braises, she roasts, she can do a mean chiffonade and she firmly believes that bacon and butter make everything better.