Early Harvest Olive Oil
As we prepare to travel to Italy in October for our IL DIVINO Extra Virgin Olive Oil olive harvest and pressing, we thought it was important to briefly discuss the greatly enhanced quality of Extra Virgin Olive Oil derived from early harvest olives.
The character of an olive oil depends on a number of critical factors: the olive variety and their maturity when harvested, the maturity of the olive trees, how the olives are handled during harvest, and how quickly they are crushed. The olives used for our IL DIVINO Extra Virgin Olive Oil are handpicked and crushed directly after harvest.
Of the factors contributing to the production of outstanding oil, one of the most important decisions is the timing of the harvest. Olives can be harvested for oil at varying times during the ripening process from October to as late as February. When olives are harvested early (October through mid-November) they generally yield less oil, and that oil has a deeper green color and a higher level of bitterness and pungency. This is because the olives contain a higher level of chlorophyll and therefore a higher poly-phenol count (up to five times that of olives picked during the regular harvest).
Poly-phenols are the compounds that contribute to the bitterness and pungency of the olive oil and provide many of the health benefits. In addition to the added health benefits, early harvest oils have a longer shelf life than ripe harvest oils because the antioxidant properties of the poly-phenols slow the onset of rancidity.
Olives harvested early in the season, when they are not yet fully ripe, produce less oil than fully ripe olives. Since most growers want to keep this special oil for their own family’s consumption, very little early harvest oil is available for export. However, here at IL DIVINO 100% of our Extra Virgin Olive Oil (EVOO) is “early harvest” olive oil.
This is just one more factor that makes our IL DIVINO Extra Virgin Olive Oil like no olive oil you have ever tasted. 100% early harvest, 100% pure extra virgin olive oil, 100% Italian, and 100% fresh.