Meet Maurice & Cindy Penna
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.
Penna – Gourmet Olives
And what the Pennas do is make olives available at a price that won’t blow a grocery budget. The Pennas own M&CP Farms, 100 acres of olive production, processing and packing, located in the fertile Northern Sacramento Valley of California. They have owned the land since 1951.
Maurice, age 59, was actually born in Australia to Italian parents from the village of Revigliasco di Asti. Maurice moved to California in 1951, when his parents purchased the land that is now M&CP Farms. He attributes his farming knowledge and appreciation for fine foods to his family upbringing.
Cindy is a native Californian and has spent most of her life in the Sacramento Valley. Her grandparents were from the Orland area. They owned a well-known nursery, the same nursery that supplied many of the original olive tree plantings that now grow throughout California’s olive region. Maurice and Cindy met in the third grade when Cindy was asked to “guide” the new student from Australia.
As a young man, Maurice spent a few years in the military before choosing a life of farming over the big city. Maurice was fortunate to find a mentor in Elton Develter (1918-1994), a UC Berkeley graduate food technologist and olive expert who spent his entire life in the California Olive arena. Develter shared with Maurice what he had learned traveling the world observing and studying the old ways of olive growing and processing. “Elton imparted so much passion for knowledge and thirst for the old ways into me,” Maurice said. The Pennas have combined Old World curing and spicing practices with safe, modern technology to produce a unique, flavorful and consistent olive. Their company, M&CP Farms, sells both fresh olives for home-curing and retail olives.
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.