People of American Olive Farmer
Home of Lucero Olive Oil® and Other Fine Brands
First, a bit about the brand
We're located in Corning, a California farming town in the northern part of the Sacramento Valley and historically known as one of the major production areas for table olives in North America with the 2nd largest ripe olive processing plant in the world here. We sell olive oil made from orchards planted in 2008 and 2012 by the original local farmer, Crane Mills. In addition to planting the orchards used by Lucero Olive Oil®, the Crane Family were also the co-founder of the business called "Lucero Olive Oil, LLC" along with the Lucero Family. Crane built and staffed the olive mill and packing house, and built the tasting rooms, too, while the Lucero partner was in charge of sales and marketing.
Today, the Lucero Olive Oil® brand and American Olive Farmer online shop are owned and operated by Liz Tagami and her husband, Donald. The Crane orchards are now owned and operated by our friend and colleague Adam, who keeps them in top shape with modern regenerative methods. Read more about orchards via this link: "The Olive Orchards that Supply Lucero".
Liz's Role at Lucero Olive Oil® Today
I’ve been with Lucero Olive Oil® since February 2008 developing products and the recipes with which to enjoy them. After nearly 7 years as the Lucero brand consultant I traded my consultant hat for the General Manager's in 2014, and then became a (minority) co-owner in 2015. It was a tremendous time of growth as our team quadrupled output with the maturing of the Crane orchards, and much product innovation was introduced at this time with the "Williams 160" orchard. Sadly, we had to wind down the business in 2019 due to economic pressures caused by wildfires and changing conditions. The brand relaunch was then delayed due to the pandemic. Although we no longer operate Tasting Rooms, Donald and I relaunched the brand in the summer of 2022 as sole owners. The vinegar, for which I was the original importer, is still sourced by me today, and as the origina négociant my family name now appears on the bottles.
Liz's Other Bonafides
I'm a 6th generation Californian who has been involved in defining and nurturing the Lucero Olive Oil brand for nearly 16 years, and am a specialty food and cooking equipment industry veteran with nearly 4 decades of international business experience as an executive for publicly held and VC backed high growth companies. Here are a few examples of my professional olive oil experience since leaving corporate life at the end of 2007:
- Invested over 200 hours in olive oil sensory evaluation training, olive milling instruction, and related master classes around the world
- Adjudicated as an official panelist for over 60 hours in olive oil competitions in Jerusalem, Napa, and Tokyo
- Devoted three years as a member of an AOCS [American Olive Oil Chemists Society] Tasting Panel
- Delighted in three years as the Director of International Relations for the largest olive oil event in Asia, Olive Japan
- Volunteered as a board member for the Extra Virgin Alliance and Olive Oil Commission of California, where I was a charter member of both organizations
- Volunteered two years as an executive advisor on the UC Davis Olive Center board of directors
- Early days reporter and writer for the Olive Oil Times and the original OliveOil.com
- Conference and symposium speaker to both professionals and enthusiasts at olive oil and agriculture events on five continents
- Former consultant to premium olive growers in 12 countries
- Olive Oil subject matter expert for Gerson Lehrman Group for over a decade
- Led management team through the first Lucero ownership transition in 2014 and created infrastructure to support over 4x tonnage growth for Lucero Olive Oil, a fully vertical omnichannel olive oil company.
- Developed the financial, legal, and logistical pathway to relaunch the Lucero brand during the second Lucero ownership transition utilizing a significant number of original resources and all original brand assets... and doing so during a global pandemic.
...and now, Meet Donald
Donald has been my partner since 1976. First as a chamber music collaborator (he's a cellist, I'm a flutist), by being my best friend, and then my husband. Over the past decades he has spent many years working in Bay Area restaurants, catering kitchens, for one of the nation's top food development companies, and as a cooking teacher.
He does the cooking in our home, and is also the one upon whom I have relied to develop or vet the recipes that we've shared at Lucero Olive Oil since 2015.
We're glad you found us, and appreciate you wanting to know more about the company. Please be in touch if you'd like to know more.