Organics - Questions Quality. "It's not just about the Price."

Some interesting questions arise every so often from our customers who are looking for understanding in this industry about olive oil, I would like to share them with you.

Q: We Canadians, in general North Americans, want to know why good quality olive is not available and when it is the price is above the limits of the average person's budget?

A: It is very important to understand how the cultivation of a Single Estate olive grove was in the past, is today and will be in the future. It's an activity that keeps the farming family busy during a slow season, November to January, when other farming income is practically zero. In order to make a reasonable profit, you have no other option but to use the family's combined labour and energy to complete this task. Any hired labour diminishes the expectation of having a profitable operation. The cost of producing a litre of Extra Virgin Olive Oil therefore depends on how you maintain your olive grove, for example, using chemicals in a conventional operation, or organic cultivation. The biological cultivation involves several hundred hours of labour compared with the non-organic farm. Harvesting the olives by hand is both time consuming and costly compared with the successful commercial Spanish way of harvesting using machinery, producing the so called industrial olive oil. But harvesting is not the only expense for the organic farmer, annual fees to the certification organization and a percentage paid to the mill for the pressing of the olives to extract the extra virgin olive oil. These are some of the factors that increase price on the quality olive oil.

Q: What is the future of the Single Estate olive grove farmer?

A: I can say this is not very hard to predict, because things seem discouraging especially when Governments are trying to avoid supporting organic farming. In the late 50's and 60's Southern European farmers abandoned their farms and Immigrated to Foreign countries for a better future. That generation came back to work on a dream again. With some Government subsidies things were looking brighter for the farmers, but what will happen when this life blood is stopped? The younger generation will not even consider working the farms. Immigrants from the poorer Eastern European Countries are doing the work now and will do more in the future. Large sophisticated olive mills will replace the existing old mills and non competitive producing machinery. Large corporations will take over the production of olive oil, as we know it today. Single estates will contract out their farms for a small fee to these large corporations, who will specialize in all phases of the olive oil production. This may reduce prices of the oil, but the quality of extra virgin olive oil will become even rarer.

Q: How can the quality of Extra Virgin Olive Oil be protected?

A: There is only one answer to this, support the Single Estate Producers! Especially those with a deep rooted conscience and integrity in producing this rare commodity called the 'Real' Extra Virgin Olive Oil, the 'Real' First Pressing' , the 'Real' Cold Pressed, natural aroma with the organoleptic qualities of this special Extra Virgin Olive Oil which we call the New Harvest. When you compromise quality because of the price, people unconsciously allow adulteration and importation of inferior qualities of olive oils. They are then missing the beauty and real satisfaction of tasting the health giver and undisputable extra virgin olive oil.

Q: Do you think that the price of Golden Olive 'Eleni' certified organic Extra Virgin Olive Oil is reflecting the quality?

A: High price does not necessarily determine a good quality olive oil. There are many factors that are combined to give this meaning. More importantly beyond the sterile calculations and number crunch, is our love and passion and our commitment to supply our customers with this very rare quality, the New Harvest. It is hard to put into words, it's a feeling, that we give more than we receive and we are happy about that. Thank you for your support you encourage the future continuation of our dream. If you have any questions please do not hesitate to call or email Basil Koutalianos at:

604 460-0087
This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
or visit our web site

Taken From:
Organics - Questions Quality. "It's not just about the Price."
by Basil Koutalianos
BC Chefs' News


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