I am Jeff Martin, owner of Frantoio Grove in San Martin CA. My family has been farming a variety of crops in California since the mid-1800s. So, in the early 2000s, when I had a piece of land that I was converting into permanent open space, I decided to plant olive trees. I had already planted thousands of trees in my life and was confident in my skills at farming and caring for olives. A few years before actually making the move, though, I joined the COOC and learned as much as I could about business of California extra virgin olive oil. Attending events and sessions at the annual COOC meetings and the relationships I formed, were invaluable to me in preparing for the years ahead. In 2005 my son, Patrick’ and I planted 3500 Frantoio trees (including a few Pendolino and Leccino trees as pollinators,) and in 2010 we had our first small harvest. We bought our own olive mill in 2012. I had attended milling classes by then, and learned a lot from the Crohares at Olivina, who milled our crop the first few years.
We are proud to have built a loyal customer base both in California and across the United States. We have won many awards year after year, with many gold medals as well as a Best of Show at Los Angeles State Fair, Best of Show at New York International, Best of California at California State Fair and Best of USA at Olive Japan. Our 2019 harvest has just won Best of Show at California State Fair.
The COOC continues to offer ongoing support to Frantoio Grove each year, including providing our EVOO certification, which is essential to our integrity as an olive oil producer. Along with a chemical test, the COOC’s world class taste panel certifies that any olive oil that bears their seal is truly extra virgin olive oil. The COOC also offers marketing and other assistance, as well as the network of mutually supportive California Olive Growers who are brought together by our membership in the organization.