Inspired by the flavors of summer in central California, we partnered with our friends at Ricchiuti Family Farms to source the ingredients and bring back (for a limited time) one of our favorite flavors: Olive Oil & Salted Almonds.
We spoke with Vince Ricchiuti about his family's history of farming in the Central Valley of California, and what makes their almonds and ENZO olive oil the best we've ever tasted.
Tell us a bit about your family’s history of farming in California?
The Ricchiuti family story begins with a voyage from Vincenzo Ricchiuti’s native Italy. Vincenzo set foot on fertile American soil in the year 1914. This is where he would plant the seeds of a family business which would eventually grow for generations. A vegetable grower by trade, he knew that diversification would be the key to long term success. He and his wife, Loretta, would nurture the land, and through their hard work and commitment to quality, the business prospered. With this in mind, Vincenzo planted the first family acreage with grapes and figs.
Benefitted by his father’s wisdom, Pat Ricchiuti began his career as a grower, packer, shipper after returning home from serving his country in 1946. With the help and support of his wife, Frances, they continued to diversify their business by planting plums and cotton.
In 1973, Pat, Frances, and their son Patrick oversaw the construction of a new state-of-the-art cold storage and packing house that quickly became known worldwide for premium quality peaches, plums, apricots, nectarines, apples, citrus, grapes, almonds, and olives.
Today, the Ricchiuti Family Farms operation also includes a retail store – ENZO’S TABLE, an almond hulling and processing plant in Madera, and a newly-completed olive oil milling facility that produces and bottles extra virgin organic olive oil under the label ENZO.
What’s special about ENZO olive oil?
ENZO organic extra virgin olive oil is 100% estate-grown, meaning from the planting of each and every tree, harvesting of the crop, milling of the fruit, and bottling of the oil, all steps are completed under the direction of my dad, Patrick and myself on the ENZO property, which features meticulously manicured groves and a state-of-the-art mill on site. This hands-on approach is what it takes to produce fresh, premium, and flavorful oil. ENZO has won over 200 awards from around the world for taste and quality since 2012.
Are you an ice cream lover? Any stories?
Our family LOVES ice cream. Living in Fresno where the summer days are long and hot there is nothing more refreshing than a great scoop of ice cream. Our family has a long tradition of taking the freshy picked produce of summer and making home-made ice cream. There isn’t anything that says summer more than a delicious bowl or cone of ice cream.
What about this partnership makes sense?
What makes the McConnell’s and Ricchiuti family partnership make sense is just that, two families that have a long history of making and growing delicious food in California coming together to highlight both of their products.
Olive oil and ice cream. Seems weird, but it’s delicious. Any thoughts on that?
Olive oil ice cream is actually one of my favorite ways to showcase our family’s product. It has a special way of presenting the olive oil in a familiar, but unique way to the customer. The combination lets you experience the many flavor notes of the oil. Besides, who doesn’t enjoy layering fat on fat?