At the first meeting of the 2011-12 year, Lodi American Association of University Women members were treated to a presentation about olive oil. Leonard Cicerello, representing Lodi Olive Oil Company, intrigued the members and guests with many facts about olive oil, including a history that goes back 5,000 years in the Middle East and Mediterranean countries, where it was used in religious rituals, in soap and as lamp oil as well as for food.
According to Cicerello, olive oil was introduced in California by the missions in the late 1700s. It was first branded in San Joaquin County in 2000 and has experienced increased local and statewide production and popularity since then.
Currently, the United States only produces 1 percent of the world’s olive oil, with the other 99 percent coming from Europe. Spain, Italy and Greece far surpass the United States in both production and consumption. Greece alone actually consumes seven gallons per capita annually, while Americans only consume about one quart per person per year.
Lodi AAUW meets on the third Tuesday of the month at 6:30 p.m. for a social time and 7 p.m. for the program which is followed by a business meeting. More information can be found at www.aauwlodi.org.