Calaveras County’s oldest olive orchard. Est. 1888
There’s gold in those hills”
When gold was discovered in 1849, there was hardly an olive industry, or an agricultural industry for that matter. One of the largest mass migrations of the time, dubbed the California Gold Rush, quickly and dramatically changed region. Scores of people descended on the Sierra Nevada foothills, seeking a better life and dreaming of striking it rich.
Gold mining and panning were not the only industries to develop at a breakneck speed. A large number of people necessitates a large amount of food, leading many residents and settlers to explore a different kind of riches from the land. Fertile soil and a favorable climate make the Gold Country an agricultural goldmine.
Nuggets weren’t the only beautiful rocks
Olives quickly took up residence in California, with Scientific Americas proclaiming in 1864 that certain California olive oils compared favorably to that produced in Florence, Italy. At the time, olives seemed like an unlikely crop in the Gold Country, as most people believed that they only thrived in coastal climates. Yet, adventurous pioneers had planted orchards throughout the Gold Country, and their gamble was paying off. By the late 1800s, olives had become a valuable crop from Sacramento to Valley Springs and beyond.
Olives resemble stones, inspiring the name Rocca Bella (beautiful rocks)
In 1916, Louis Sammis from Connecticut purchased an 80-acre orchard, which would become one of the most successful olive producers in the state. It was named Rocca Bella, meaning beautiful rocks, a reference to the appearance of olives. Within three years Rocca Bella was producing several tons of product, and in 1935 the family formed the Rocca Bella Olive Association along with other area growers. By 1954, Rocca Bella had 35 member farms, totaling over 1,000 acres of olive trees.
Workers on the belts probably making sure that no defective olives made it to the cans.
Very important Quality Control.
Obviously a Very strong marketing team. Do you remember as a kid putting an olive on
each finger on both hands and running around like that just before you ate them all!
Store display for a Very popular product.
Reminds me of a present day 4th of July display at the grocery store.
Don’t you just LOVE those prices?
Looks like Fall is in the air with Olives on the menu for your football parties and Halloween gatherings
Empty cans going to line to be filled with olives.