Senator Visits Il Fiorello

The Fairfield Daily Republic stopped by Il Fiorello at the same time that Sen. Lois Wolk visited the mill and olive house. Sen. Wolk has been a staunch supporter of agriculture and agri-tourism, and has recently passed legislation strengthening protections for both consumers and producers of extra virgin olive oil. We were honored to have her at the mill and hope she will return soon!

By Barry Eberling of the Daily Republic

FAIRFIELD — State Sen. Lois Wolk came to Suisun Valley on Tuesday to talk about olive oil.

The valley is gaining a reputation for its wineries. But it also is gaining fame in the olive oil world, with Il Fiorello Olive Oil Co. among the growers and producers. Mark and Ann Sievers of Il Fiorello invited Wolk to see their business on Mankas Corner Road.

“We’re just kind of keeping her abreast of what we’re doing,” Mark Sievers said.

Among the topics on Sievers’ mind is agritourism. Suisun Valley can be a place not only where olives are grown and made into oil, but also where people can come to buy the oil, he said.

Napa and Sonoma counties have olive oil production, but it has been more a byproduct of having olives as decorative trees, Mark Sievers said. He sees room for Suisun Valley to go further than those nearby counties.

Wolk is certainly an interested party. She is chairwoman of the Senate Subcommittee on Olive Oil Production and Emerging Products.

Earlier this year, she took steps to deal with imported brands she considers mislabeled as “extra virgin” olive oil, to the detriment of the California brands against which they compete. She sponsored a bill tightening standards for “extra virgin” olive oil.

Gov. Jerry Brown signed the bill in October.

“Now, using the clear standards set in place by this new law, California can begin to pursue options for enforcement,” Wolk said in a news release.

Mark Sievers said the legislation is important. He wants to keep Wolk up to date on the industry’s issues.

“She just needs to be aware of what’s going on, so if things come up, she can facilitate it or prevent barriers,” he said.

Ann Sievers, who is running for a position on the California Olive Council, also talked with Wolk.

“She now understands that we’re pretty committed to educating the public on good food, healthy food and how to use (olive oil) in cooking and how to respect that,” Ann Sievers said.

Wolk also got to see the new Il Fiorello olive mill made in Italy by Pieralisi. Mark Sievers believes it to be the most high-tech, modern mill in North America.

Reach Barry Eberling at 427-6929, or [email protected]