Special Feature


American Olive History

Fiesta Shrimp Chowder
South American Swordfish


An Industry Founded by A Housewife

In the 1880's many acres of olive trees were planted because of a demand for olive oil. Freda Ehmann and her son, Edwin, purchased such an orchard in the Oroville area of northern California around that time. Soon with the trees barely producing and oil prices dropping, only their tough German heritage convinced them to continue and search for other outlets for their fruit.

Consulting with a Berkeley professor on processing methods, Freda began experimenting with 280 gallons of olives in barrels on the back porch of her home. The black olives she produced were pronounced a success and the California ripe olive industry was born. Freda Ehmann's grandson would later write: "Where science and chemical exactness had failed, the experience and care of a skillful and conscientious housewife succeeded."


Fiesta Shrimp Chowder

Fiesta Shrimp Chowder
  • 1 cup sliced ripe olives
  • 2 cups whole kernel corn
  • 1 can condensed tomato soup (10-3/4 ounces)
  • 1-1/2 cups chicken broth
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1/2 cup diced onion
  • 1/2 cup diced green bell pepper
  • 1 teaspoon minced garlic
  • 1 pound tiny shrimp (peeled and cooked)
  • 2 teaspoons chili powder

Combine olive and corn in small bowl. Heat tomato soup with chicken broth. Heat olive oil and sauté onion, green pepper and garlic for 3 or 4 minutes. Add shrimp and sauté 1 minute. Reduce heat to low. Add chili powder and cool 1 minute. Add mixture to tomato soup along with olives and corn. Heat just to a simmer.

Makes 6 servings.


South American Swordfish

South American Swordfish
  • 1 cup pitted ripe olives, coarsely chopped
  • 1/2 cup chopped green onion
  • 1/2 cup chopped parsley
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh dill (or 1 tablespoon dried)
  • 1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
  • 4 swordfish steaks (6 oz each), cut 1 inch thick
  • 3 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 1 cup chopped tomatoes

In a bowl, combine olives, onion, parsley, dill and red pepper flakes, set aside. Place swordfish steaks in a single layer in an oiled 8-inch square baking pan. Divide the olive mixture evenly among each steak; sprinkle with lemon juice. Pour tomatoes (and their juices) into pan surrounding fish. Bake in a 450 degree F oven until fish is opaque but still moist-looking in the thickest part, cut to test, about 10 minutes.

Makes 4 servings
Cooking time: About 10 minutes
Total preparation time: 15 minutes


Provided by California Olive Industry


About Olives and Olive Oils

Articles About Olives (with Recipes)

Olive Oil Recipes

This page originally published as a FoodDay article in 1997.

Copyright © 2007, Forkmedia LLC. All rights reserved.

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This page modified February 2007

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