Everything You Need to Know: Olive Oil
After digesting books, technical reports and health journals here is what we found are the basic facts regarding the Ultra-Premium Extra Virgin Olive Oil we offer:
Quality You Can TrustPolyphenols: Higher mean greater health benefits, richer, more complex taste, improved shelf life and stability. (USDA) Extra Virgin n/a - Ultra Premium (UA) ≤ 130 and higher
Fatty Acids (FFA): Elevated FFA can indicate poor quality, mishandled fruit, time between harvesting and extraction, poor storage and/or high temperature during extraction. Low FFA = higher smoke point. Lower is best. (USDA) Extra Virgin ≤ 0.8 - Ultra Premium (UA) not greater than ≤ 0.3
Oleic Acid: Higher oleic acid (monounsaturated fat content) translates to increased durability, shelf-life and greater health benefits compared with saturated and polyunsaturated fats. (USDA) Extra Virgin 55.0 – 83.0 - Ultra Premium (UA) ≥ 65 or above.
Peroxide: Increases with time. This measures primary oxidation products formed when oil is exposed to oxygen, degrading flavor. Peroxide is the primary measurement of rancidity. Lower is best. (USDA) Extra Virgin n/a - Ultra Premium (UA) ≥90 (within 30 days of crush).
DAGs: Think of 1,2 DAG ratings as those used in fine wines; 100 is perfect. DAG provides a snapshot of olive oil freshness. Low values can indicate oxidized oil and sensory defects. Higher is better (USDA) Extra Virgin n/a - Ultra Premium (UA) ≥90 or higher (immediately after production).
PPP: Useful for distinguishing fresh olive oil from refined, deodorized, or back-blended oils. Look for lower value. (USDA) Extra Virgin n/a - Ultra Premium (UA) ≤5.
What about organic?
Olive trees are dry cultivated without artificial fertilizers and amendments. Without irrigation, modern, chemically enhanced cultivation practices cannot be used. The truth is, small farmers and producers cannot afford to pay for organic certification and, at the same time, produce high quality olive oil. In practice, all our products are organic, pesticide and GMO free, yet many do not carry the organic certificate.
Difference you can taste
Ultra Premium (UP) Extra Virgin Olive Oil is reserved for the finest extra virgin olive oils in the world. UP exceeds all existing European, Italian, North American or any other standard for extra virgin olive oil in the world.
Whole Fruit Fused (agrumato) is made with fresh fruit picked at its peak flavor and crushed together with fresh, certified early harvest Ultra Premium grade olives.
Infused means that organic botanically derived essential oils are added after the oil is made. Our infused varieties begin with the same Ultra Premium, the freshest first harvest, olive oils. We infuse our oils using botanical extracts, concentrates, and essential oils from the finest ingredients. No chemicals, artificial or synthetic ingredients are used in any of our artisan infused varieties.
Extra Virgin Olive Oil - Free of defects, retain original flavor, produced entirely by mechanical means, without the use of solvents or additives, under temperatures that will not degrade the oil. Less than 10% of the olive oils produced qualify as Extra Virgin.
Adulteration and Mislabeling
Tests in Europe and by the University of California at Davis concur; up to 69% of the olive oil sold in stores as Extra Virgin does not qualify for this classification. Many in the veterans in the olive oil business believe the percentage could be much higher.
Virgin Olive Oil is produced by physical means, without chemical treatments, has an acidity less than 2%, and good taste.
Refined Olive Oil - Solvents are not used but the oil is subjected to charcoal and other chemical and physical filters that alter the natural characteristics, taste and quality.
Pure Olive Oil is usually a blend of refined and virgin oil. Over 50% of the oil produced in the Mediterranean area is of such poor quality that it must be refined to produce an edible product.
Olive Oil is a blend of virgin and refined production oil, of no more than 1.5% acidity, and lacks a strong flavor.