Olive Oil 101

What is "extra virgin" olive oil?

The Label of Extra Virgin is the highest grade an olive oil can receive. There are International and California standards of extra virgin olive oil. Both standards require a given olive oil to fall within certain parameters of a chemical and sensory test. The difference in standards is found within the chemical test. Without getting too in depth, California requires a slightly higher chemical standard. As well as the chemical analysis the olive oil is put through a sensory test. In California olive oil is sent to the California Olive Oil Council (COOC). COOC panel members will taste a given producer’s oil and report their findings. The combination of Chemical and Sensory testing will indicate the careful handling and storage of the olives and oil. Conversely, if an oil is found to be defective these test’s let the producer know and can indicate where the defect has occurred in the olive oil process.

Extra virgin olive oil is never better than when it’s first pressed. Unlike wine, olive oil does not get better with time. There is no maturing process oil needs to go through. This gives an impressive advantage to California producers—we can get our olive oil to you immediately after harvest, much quicker than producer’s overseas exporting their olive oil to the U.S. The flavor of extra virgin olive oil can take on many different flavor profiles. From buttery and smooth to peppery and robust. There can hints of green apple or banana, even stone fruit. These characteristics greatly depend on the variety of olive, but also the region, climate, harvest time, and milling process. We’re quite lucky in that California has similar climate regions to that of the Mediterranean enabling producers to grow many varieties of olives quite well.

Extra virgin olive oil provides the best health benefits and flavor when it’s fresh. Extra virgin olive oil should be purchased within 12 to 18 months of its harvest date, and should be used within six months of opening. Be sure to store it in a cool, dark place.

Why is olive oil so healthy?
Olive oil is greatly known as one of the best sources of monounsaturated fatty acids, a type of fat that has been shown to improve blood cholesterol levels. Antioxidants found in olive oil have also been proven to help fight a number of diseases including cancer.
What are polyphenols?
Polyphenols are a class of antioxidants found in a variety of foods – red wine, green tea, chocolate, olive oil and more. Antioxidants are now widely touted for their ability to combat aging and many health conditions. Recent studies indicate that the oil-soluble polyphenols are very potent – and the research is just beginning. It’s a very exciting field right now – science is increasing our understanding of the bioavailability of polyphenols and their effect on health, and milling technology is breaking new ground for higher extraction.
Why are your oils in dark bottles?
It is a question of quality – dark glass protects the contents from the deteriorating effect of light. Just think of all the health products available in brown bottles, expensive dark green wine bottles and the demise of milk bottles in favor of opaque cartons. Even a few weeks of light exposure will accelerate the aging of olive oil. The fact that so many olive oils are in clear bottles is certainly a question of marketing. It is also a good idea to store your oil in a (dark, cool) cabinet rather than on the (bright, warm) counter top, to slow its aging.
How long does olive oil keep?
Olive oil doesn’t improve with age like wine does. First, it must be said that ordinary olive oil, being predominantly refined, is essentially odorless and flavorless, and hardly changes – except eventually to go rancid from exposure to air. If you wonder what rancidity really is, just remember the particular smell and lingering taste of stale peanuts. Extra Virgin olive oil on the other hand, is a natural raw product, subject to variations year to year and to changes with time. Generally speaking, a young EVO oil will be fresh and even perky with aromas and flavors. As time goes by, the filtered EVO oils will mellow, becoming softer and milder – but still quite pleasant. Unfiltered EVO oils may develop off-smells and flavors at any time, largely depending on storage conditions. Eventually, all oils will turn rancid. Traditionally, due to the biannual bearing pattern of olive trees, olive oil is made every other year when olives are abundant. On the off-years, when the crop may be as small as 10% of the abundant years, table olives are made. Therefore, the life-expectancy of olive oil is generally taken to be two years. In truth, it depends on the quality of the oil and how it has been stored – some EVO oils are capable of extended life, beyond two years – but there is no point in buying old oil, and no reason to age the oil you buy. When looking for a good EVO oil, always check the vintage date. If there’s no date, then there’s no way to know how old the oil really is. Olives are harvested in the late fall and early winter, anytime between October and the end of January in the Northern hemisphere. Blending and bottling usually occur in the new year. Once you open a bottle, it should be consumed within 6 months.
Are you Organic?
Yes, our oils are certified organic. Click Here to view all of our Certifications.
Where can I buy your oil?
You can purchase our olive oil online by visiting our online store or at any of the following retailers found here.