At Under the Olive Tree, we pride ourselves on our family’s vast knowledge on the products and experience in the industry!
Got a question? Find your answers here and if you can not find the answer you seek, please do not hesitate to email us: firstname.lastname@example.org.
1. What is extra virgin olive oil? How is it different from virgin olive oil?
-Extra virgin by antiquated terms means the “first press” of the olives which was the purest, healthiest and freshest. Anything labeled virgin means the second press of the same olives with hotter temperatures which produces a “washed down” version of the first. Usually anything after the 1st press does not have the same nutritional benefit and is usually created to get more out of the olives. Extra virgin also has a chemical component set forth by the International Olive Oil Council in which the acidity of the olive oil must be under .8%. However, with adulteration and corruption facing the olive oil market in the US, there are other factors to look for to determine if the olive oil actually is extra virgin.
2. Where do your extra virgin olive oils come from?
– There are 2 olive oil harvests every year which occur in the Northern (Oct-Nov) and Southern Hemispheres (April-May). So, every six months we receive a new harvest that brings new varietals to the table. From the Northern Hemisphere we receive varietals from California, Europe, North Africa and occasionally the Middle East and from the Southern Hemisphere we receive South America, South Africa and Australia. We are not biased towards Italy, Spain & Greece because we believe great olive oils can come from many places!
-All our extra virgin olive oils are single varietal or single cultivar meaning they are produced from one olive variety rather than a blend. We believe blending takes away from the true flavor profile of each olive and like wine, olive oils taste very differently depending on which variety was used to make the oil. Sourcing single variety extra virgin olive oils, clients can appreciate the true flavor profile that each olive presents.
3. Why are your extra virgin olive oils so different than the grocery store product?
– Let’s talk about the major differences…
–SINGLE VARIETIES: We only source single variety or single cultivar extra virgin olive oils from around the world. By only selecting single varieties, we give clients an opportunity to develop an understanding of the various types of olives and how each olive produces a different type of oil similar to the varieties of grapes used for wine making. All our single-varieties are unfiltered, cold-pressed and come from small family farms around the world.
–FRESHNESS: Since we have constant rotation of products and we always carry the freshest harvest to date, we can provide clients with a superior quality extra virgin olive oil that is the freshest sample on the market. Freshness is a factor that cannot be found in the grocery store setting or in mass production like Costco because often times the product sits in warehouses before even hitting the store shelves and then into the consumer hands. To ensure freshness, look for a CRUSH DATE or HARVEST DATE printed on the bottle to indicate when the olive oil was produced. When in doubt of buying, make sure the olive oil’s crush date is within the last six months from the current date. Look for a crush date no matter what!
– TRACEABILITY: Look for the origins like the name of the farm/grove it came from, the actual name of the town within the country it came from and some kind of chemical data to go along with your olive oil. Yes, I know it seems like a lot of information but like any food product, a consumer has the right to know where the product originates from. Knowing this information can help you make a decision on the authenticity of your olive oil. By chemical data we mean- the acidity, polyphenols, DAGS, etc.
– HEALTH BENEFITS: When you try our selection of extra virgin olive oils, you will notice that we organize them based on the amount of antioxidants or polyphenols they contain based on a chemical lab analysis we have done on each oil. These antioxidants are not present in 89% of grocery store extra virgin olive oils because these oils have been refined, filtered, deodorized or broken down with chemicals to prolong their “shelf life” and remove defects. Here’s a simple analogy: When you put fruit through a juicer and get a cloudy and pulp filled juice at the end that would be your unfiltered extra virgin olive oil in its “raw state”. When you take the juice and pasteurize it, you remove essential bacteria and nutrients that help deliver the health benefits. So, in other words like store bought juices which are tampered with, store bought olive oils have the same qualities.
-The antioxidants are the “heart” of the olive oil and if depleted by filtering/refining, oxidation caused by light, heat or oxygen exposure the olive oil will not possess the same health benefits. These antioxidants are sensitive to change and are essential to the human body! The higher the polyphenol count on the extra virgin olive oil, the healthier it is!
-Olive oil also has many medicinal health benefits like reducing inflammation/joint pain/arthritis, promoting proper digestion, improved cardiovascular performance, promoting proper cognitive function, high intake of omega 3/6s and many more!
4. Can you actually cook with extra virgin olive oil?
– The simple answer is yes. The myth of not being able to cook with your olive oil comes from the example of olive oil that is often found in the grocery store. Remember that the antioxidants or polyphenols are the “heart” of the olive oil and once again they come into play to answer this question. In order to cook with olive oil, it must be an unfiltered and fresh sample with high antioxidant counts. The higher the antioxidants, the higher the cooking temperature! We always recommend medium-robust extra virgin olive oils (200+ polyphenols) for cooking.
5. What does “ULTRA PREMIUM” mean?
– Ultra Premium (UP) is a new category of olive oil that distinguishes the highest quality olive oil in the world. The UP standard was created in response to the growing need to separate high quality extra virgin olive oils from what dominates the so called “gourmet” and “premium” olive oil markets, as well as the broader category sold in mass markets the world over under thousands of brands and private labels. The absurdly low standards created and fostered by numerous trade associations and government agencies responsible for policing them has only contributed to the confusion and misinformation. All our olive oils must abide by strict standards set forth by the UP standard which is much higher in quality than any other standard.
6. Do we do bottle refills?
– Yes, now we do! Please bring your bottles back clean, dry and free of residue for a refill! We will refill a bottle of the same kind of product (i.e. vinegar bottle receives a vinegar refill) which must have the previous label on the bottle when you come to refill. You will receive .50 cents off every bottle you refill! GO GREEN WITH US!
7. How long do the products last?
– We always tell clients to purchase the bottle size they believe they will utilize in a timely fashion!
– INFUSED & FUSED EXTRA VIRGIN OLIVE OILS: 12-15 months depending on the crush date
– UNFLAVORED PREMIUM EXTRA VIRGIN OLIVE OILS: 15-19 months depending on the crush date
– BALSAMIC VINEGARS: Forever! We mean it like that… for as long as you live!
– SPECIALTY OILS (truffle, sesame, nut oils): 7-9 months
8. Do you mix vinegar and olive oil in one bottle?
– We do not mix vinegar and olive oil in store. We sell bottles of each kind of product separately and then we leave the mixing magic up to you!
9. Do you ever do promotions or discounts?
– Yes, our promotions vary from month to month! Check in with us!
10. What is balsamic vinegar and what is it made out of?
– Balsamic vinegar is an ancient condiment originating from the Emilio Reggiano region of Italy specifically in the town of Modena. Throughout history, balsamic vinegar was used as an remedy for aiding in digestion and for medicinal purposes. Traditional Balsamic of Vinegar of Modena DOP is produced by taking the juices (must) from the pressed grapes and cooking it for hours over direct fire until a brown, syrupy liquid with a pleasant grape smell is obtained (cooked must). This cooked must is then aged in wooden barrels for a minimum of 12 years following the Solera System. The Solera system, also known as “topping up”, is a blending system in which each year the newest cooked must is blended with the one from the previous year already contained in the barrel. These barrels are made of different types of wood, such as cherry, chestnut, oak, mulberry, and ash.