Getting the whole family around the dinner table every evening can be hard. Feeding your family meals that incorporate high-quality ingredients and are also delicious can be even harder. Sometimes, though, that special ingredient you’re looking for can already be in your pantry.
Consider including bursts of flavor from an ingredient such as California Ripe Olives at your next family meal and take into account the versatility and taste made possible by the hard-working farm families who grow them.
Grown by his family for more than a decade, Rick Benson vividly remembers the day he convinced his father the next crop at Benson Farms should be California Ripe Olives, which are both heat- and salt-tolerant.
That was 12 years ago, and the Benson family has grown olives ever since. Though they are seasoned farmers, the Benson family members are new to olives, and they have brought an innovative way of harvesting to the decades old industry.
While California Ripe Olives remain a primarily hand-harvested crop, the Bensons’ young grove was planted with the intention of harvesting mechanically. As newer olive groves are planted, mechanical harvesting is slowly being implemented.
“It’s a labor of love,” Benson said. “We view olives as our crop for the next generation.”
Whether you’re enjoying olives as a snack or using them in a new dish like this favorite recipe from a California Ripe Olive-growing family, consider the hundreds of farming families behind each can of olives.
Learn more about multi-generational farming families like the Bensons and find more recipes at calolive.org.
Rustic Chicken with Ripe Olives
Recipe courtesy of Vincent Richutti, a third-generation California Ripe Olive grower
Prep time: 20 minutes
Cook time: 30-35 minutes
- 1/2 cup mixed, porcini or chanterelle dried mushrooms
- 2 teaspoons fennel seeds
- 1 1/2 teaspoons dried basil
- 1 1/2 teaspoons sea salt
- 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
- 1 1/2 pounds baby yellow potatoes, halved
- 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
- 4 small boneless, skinless chicken breasts
- 1 1/2 cups California Black and Green Ripe Olives
- 1/4 cup chicken broth
- 1/4 cup white wine
- 1 lemon, thinly sliced and seeds removed
- Heat oven to 425° F.
- In small food processor, pulse mushrooms, fennel seeds, basil, salt and red pepper flakes until mixture is finely chopped and almost powder-like.
- Place potatoes on large, shallow-rimmed baking sheet and drizzle with 2 tablespoons olive oil; toss to coat. Sprinkle with half the mushroom mixture and toss lightly.
- Brush chicken with remaining olive oil and sprinkle both sides with remaining mushroom mixture.
- Nestle chicken and olives into potatoes. Drizzle with broth and wine, and top with lemon slices.
- Roast 30-35 minutes, or until chicken and potatoes are cooked through.
- Remove lemon slices before serving.
California Olive Committee