Why Truly Good Olive Oil Costs More & How Everyday Use is Bridging The Gap Between Quality and Affordability
You’ve probably heard that olive oil is good for you. Saturated fats are in, and sugar is out. But olive oil has been, regardless of trends, part of our diet for 8,000 years. In fact, it’s so popular that over 3 million tons of olive oil were produced globally in 2018, according to the International Olive Council. With so many options, how in the world can you know which olive oil to buy?
One way people try to ensure they’re getting quality olive oil is to pay big bucks for it. But while you can be sure that cheap olive oil is not high-quality, an expensive price tag doesn’t guarantee a quality product either.
Plus, not all of us can afford to pay a hefty price for something we use in the kitchen on a daily basis. Here’s the inside story on why you need to buy extra virgin olive oil from a reputable producer, what goes into the price of a good bottle, and what we’re doing at Texas Olive Ranch to provide you with quality at an affordable price.
WHY LOWER QUALITY DOESN’T CUT IT
We hold these truths to be self-evident – that not all olive oils are created equal.
The regulations controlling the olive oil trade are quite permissive, which means that shoppers buying something labeled “extra virgin olive oil” could end up with a product that’s been mislabeled, adulterated, or has even gone rancid.
90% of the oil in the U.S. is imported, and as Epicurious puts it, “there’s ample room for deception along the production chain.” The lab analysis and sensory tests set by the International Olive Council in Madrid only ensure a minimum grade, and often, after olive oil is tested in Spain, it gets shipped to Italy where it’s blended before being shipped internationally. Unfortunately, sometimes previously tested oil is mixed with lower-grade olive oil that’s been chemically refined, or it’s diluted with cheap soybean or seed oil (both illegal), or mixed with olive oil that’s been sitting around since the previous year’s harvest or longer (totally legal!).
By the time those bottles reach the store, the olive oil inside is no longer compliant and its health benefits have been tarnished.
And you don’t want to miss out on the health benefits of real, high-quality extra virgin olive oil.
It’s the basis of the doctor-approved Mediterranean diet (the only diet proven medically) and has been studied and tested rigorously to resounding consensus – extra virgin olive oil is packed with health benefits. Extra virgin olive oil can not only help you lose weight, but also helps your heart fight disease and your mind beat back Alzheimer’s.
Not to mention, you’ll definitely taste the difference between good olive oil – the real stuff – and the not-so-good kind. High quality olive oil smells and tastes green, peppery, and bright. The lesser quality olive oil that’s mass produced or chosen haphazardly from the store shelf can smell like mildew, spoiled fruit, and wet rags.
WHY GOOD OLIVE OIL COSTS MORE
As the old saying goes, “You get what you pay for.” Generally, olive oil is no exception, but the reason behind why is a little more complicated. Basically, it takes a lot of careful, loving work to make great olive oil. Like any other premium product, making really good olive oil means making less of it, and it is an expensive and time-consuming process.
Much like grapes for wine, olives have to be picked at just the right time, trees need to be pruned perfectly, and fruit needs to be handled and processed gingerly. Olive oil should also get into the hands of the consumer when it’s as fresh as possible.
Premium producers often sacrifice larger yields in order to make better olive oil. For example, they pick olives earlier in the season when the olives are still green to capture vibrant flavors and higher levels of antioxidants, even though a later harvest would yield more oil.
At Texas Olive Ranch, founder Jim Henry walks the groves himself, carefully selecting which trees to harvest. We grow our olives responsibly, naturally, and without any chemicals. We only cold and first press, which means we don’t heat our olives over 80 degrees Fahrenheit so that they retain their nutrients, and that all of our olive oil is made from the first pressing so that it’s full of flavor.
SO, DO I NEED TO SPEND A FORTUNE FOR GOOD OLIVE OIL?
The costly process of making excellent extra virgin olive oil leaves consumers in a bind. What if we want to eat well every day, not just on special occasions?
HOW EVERYDAY USE BRIDGES THE GAP
At Texas Olive Ranch, we understand that you don’t want to sacrifice taste or health for price, so we created our Everyday Use Line. In order to provide high quality at a reasonable price, we recently expanded our grove to Argentina, which allowed us to add 250,000 trees to our crop. We chose Argentina because it has the same great climate for growing olives as Texas does. With more trees and the same rigorous process, we’re able to provide high-quality olive oil at a reasonable price. We blend our Texas Arbequina with the Argentina Arbequina to create an extra virgin olive oil with a high enough smoke point to be a workhorse in the kitchen, but with enough depth of flavor for drizzling.
Shop our new Everyday Use Olive Oil line for your new pantry staples