Locally Grown "Food With A Story" Make Great Holiday Gifts

OROVILLE, CALIF. – (November 11, 2005) – Butte County-grown products that tell a story of our local agriculture make unique thoughtful holiday gifts for friends, family, clients and out-of-towners.

"There are many agricultural products with a flavor or style that this area is known for, which makes the gift even more special," said Jamie Johansson, owner/farmer of Lodestar Farms, who makes a traditional California olive oil. "People like to know where their food is coming from, and where it's made. It's great to be able to tell a story about the product when you give it as a gift."

Johansson, whose 80-acre farm is located in Oroville, produces Mission olive oil with a flavor that is unique to this region. The history dates back to the Franciscan Missionaries who planted the first Mission olives. Today, 75 percent of the Mission olives are grown in Oroville and the first commercial olive production in California began just miles from Lodestar Farms in 1898 with the Ehmann Olive Company.

"Lodestar Olive Oil tells a story of tradition behind the label. It is perfect gift to take to holiday parties, it's locally made, more personal than a bottle of wine, and is also a nice addition to local gift baskets," said Johansson, who recently opened a tasting room on his family farm. "When you send a bottle of Lodestar Olive Oil, you are sending a gift that provides the consumer with a product that was grown on California soil, from traditional California Mission Olives trees, that was harvested in the traditional hand-picked manner with the quality the consumer expects when purchasing a gourmet product direct-from-the-farm."

Lodestar Farms product line includes:

Lodestar Traditional Late-Harvest Olive Oil: Olives cultivated for Lodestar Traditional Late-Harvest are harvested and pressed later in the season to create an oil with a fruitier, more buttery flavor. Its taste is unique to the Sierra Foothill region and California's signature Mission olives. Perfect for everyday cooking and for use. Available in 250 ml. and 500 ml. bottles.

Lodestar Lemon Olive Oil: Produced by pressing Lodestar's Mission Olives with a blend of California-grown Eureka and Meyer Lemons from the hills above Santa Barbara. Lodestar Lemon Olive Oil is the only California Olive Oil that highlights two family farms. An excellent complement to fish, poultry and vegetable dishes. Available in 250 ml. bottles.

Suggested retail prices range from $9.99 - $18.99. Available at Creekside Cellars, Made in Chico and S&S Produce, To Market...To Market, Vino 100 and Zucchini & Vine in Chico, and at Wagon Wheel Market and direct from Lodestar Farms in Oroville. For more information on Lodestar Farms, visit www.lodestarfarms.com or call 530-534-6548.

For more ideas on locally grown products to add to your holiday gift basket, support local farmers and head out on a holiday shopping adventure! Butte County specialty food growers have joined together to launch the Sierra Oro Farm Trail Map, featuring 10 Butte County specialty farms and five local wineries including:

Black Crow Grill and Taproom, Book Family Farm, Butte View Olive Company, California Olive Ranch, Chafin Orchards, Golden West Nuts, Goodman Bed & Breakfast, Grey Fox Winery, Hanson Orchards, Hotel Diamond, Johnnie's Restaurant and Lounge, LaRocca Vineyards, Lavender Legacy, Lodestar Farms, Long Creek Winery, Maisie Jane's, Mountain View Christmas Tree Farm, Noble Orchards, Odyssey Winery and Vineyards, Quilici Vineyards, Red Tavern, Riverside Bed & Breakfast and Wagon Wheel Market.

For more information about the Sierra Oro Farm Trail Map, or links to these family farms, visit www.sierraoro.org or call 530-566-9849. Or, pick up a copy of the map at the Chico Chamber of Commerce, Oroville Chamber of Commerce, local Tri Counties Bank branches, and all of the locations above.