Around the Mediterranean, you can find plenty of high-quality, low-cost olive oils—on Chowhound, kerosundae recalls beautiful oils for sale in the French countryside for $20 a liter, and even cheaper ones in Spain—but here? You have to do quite a bit of searching, even in the Bay Area.
One place to search is the Sardinian restaurant La Ciccia in Noe Valley, which is selling a custom-made oil (while supplies last). Robert Lauriston says the sharp flavor of new oil still stings a bit, but the price doesn't.
Local bulk sellers and co-ops are other good sources: Rainbow Grocery in San Francisco, and specialty sellers like Amphora Nueva in Berkeley (pictured), are where you can get a variety of oils (including California ones) for $24 per liter. Up in Sonoma, The Olive Press lets you taste and buy in bulk if you bring your own containers.
And if you're wondering where to find great, low-cost olive oils in New York City? Chowhounds have that covered, too.
La Ciccia [Noe Valley]
291 30th Street, San Francisco
Rainbow Grocery [Mission District]
1745 Folsom Street, San Francisco
Amphora Nueva [East Bay]
2928 Domingo Avenue, Berkeley
The Olive Press [Sonoma County]
24724 Highway 121, Sonoma
Discuss: small affordable olive oil producers
Photo from Amphora Nueva / Facebook