Meet Maurice & Cindy Penna
Gourmet Foods, What does it take to talk olives, think olives, eat olives, and even dream olives on a daily basis? If you asked Maurice and Cindy Penna, a husband and wife pair of olive enthusiasts and growers, they would tell you that all it takes is a love of olives. They are passionate about sharing that love with the world.
M&CP Farms currently retails Penna Olives. Penna Olives are known as “California’s Everyday Specialty.” And that is because the Pennas want olives to be more than just a holiday condiment. Maurice, a home kitchen chef, has developed several recipes which showcase olives. He also promotes the health benefits of this tasty little fruit. Today, the Pennas are dedicated to sharing the full-flavor range of their California olives while continuing to be involved in all aspects of their product’s production, processing and packing.
Penna Olives are the worlds best olives for several reasons. Not only are they grown, processed and packed right at M&CP Farms in Northern California, but they incorporate old processes improved upon and made safe by modern microbiology. Customers can count on Penna Olives' consistency and quality since M&CP Farms is the only handler from the tree to the package.
Also unique at M&CP Farms is the way the olives are processed. “We vary the processing. We can do olives in different stages of maturity because we are small,” Maurice says. They produce a variety of stuffed and pitted olives, olive spreads, and olive oil.
Marketing is key in growing the operation. Maurice constantly searches for new products to expand the present customer base. In 2001, they marketed eight varieties of olive spreads, three types of cheese stuffed olives, and extra virgin olive oil.
Maurice is deeply concerned with the state of agriculture, not only for olives, but all farm products. “Our growers here are probably making less money than a lot of other growers in Europe. It's a subsidy issue,” he says, adding that growers' hands are tied until the U.S. government insists on a fair playing field.
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