What is extra virgin olive oil and why do we only sell California grown?
There are a number of classifications of olive oil and “Extra Virgin” is the highest. In simple terms, this means that it is free from defects in flavor and odor and it is 100% olive oil. There is actually much more detail than that in order to be certified by the California Olive Oil Council. There are mandates regarding harvesting methods, the amount of time between harvesting and pressing, the methods and conditions used for pressing, the actual chemical analysis of the oil, and then it must pass an actual sensory and tasting test by a panel of experts. This certification must be renewed for each variety and each grower every year.
Why from California? Unfortunately, few other places on the world have such high standards for classifying an oil as extra virgin and many that are on store shelves here have not undergone testing at all. In addition, freshness is a key factor in the flavor and quality of olive oil. Unlike wine, it does not improve with age. Our California olive oil has not been sitting in the hold of a cargo ship or in the belly of an airplane on an international flight. We deal directly with California producers.
These standards provide an olive oil that is high in polyphenols and packed with antioxidants and healthy mono-unsaturated fats. These healthy components play a protective role against many diseases. There are over 75 different varieties of olives grown in California. They produce different flavor profiles and you will find they vary from delicate and buttery to sharp and robust and everything in between. Depending on the season and harvest, we usually have at least a mild, a medium and a robust extra virgin olive oil available in your choice of bottle size, and for refilling your clean bottles in the store. You will also find a variety of flavored olive oils. These are all made with extra virgin olive oil, but because they contain something other than olive oil, such as garlic, lemon or basil, they are not listed as extra virgin.
We are committed to providing you with only the highest quality of products available. We continually look for ways to “tune” our inventory to meet the needs of our customers and we welcome your input!
-Pam and Alan Davis
Olive Ventura Owners