Organic Extra Virgin vs. Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Many consumers wonder what the differences are between Organic Extra Virgin Olive Oil, and Extra Virgin Olive Oil. The difference in price is reasonably large between these two types of oil, but are they really all that different?
The simplest answer is no, they should be almost the exact same oil. Because they’re both the olive oil grade “Extra Virgin” they both are made from the first press (or spin) of the olives. They both have the same requirements for acidity, chemical make up and sensory tests that allow them to be called Extra Virgin. The primary difference is that one is produced using Certified Organic olives, and the other is not.
Organic Extra Virgin vs. Other Olive Oil Grades
As you begin to look at some of the other grades, this answer varies. While the olives may be similar to what is used to produce Extra Virgin Olive Oil, the process of how the oil is made and the final quality of the oil is different. For example, grades like Pure Olive Oil and Refined Olive Oil are processed using a high heat process. Olive Pomace Oil is extracted using a solvent to expel the oil. Those oils also have different chemical requirements, which means that the final result of the oil may be very different in color, taste, etc.
While Organic Extra Virgin and Extra Virgin remain very similar, the quality gap between Organic EVOO and the other grades can be much wider.
What’s The Difference In How The Olives Are Grown?
Organic olives are those that have been documented by an accredited organic certifying agency to be grown without the use of chemical fertilizers, pesticides, or other artificial agents. This means that to be organic, the olives can’t use any chemicals or pesticides to help them grow.
The bigger picture is that olive trees in general are a very hearty tree. They require little to no pesticide intervention to grow olives normally (unlike, for example, apple crops here in the US). Most growers, especially those outside of the US, don’t use any chemicals on any of their trees. However, the organic certifying process documents and guarantees this fact for consumers.
The Final Decision
Is it worth the additional cost for Organic Extra Virgin Olive Oil? For manufacturers making an USDA organic certified product, absolutely. For the everyday consumer, you decide. I can tell you one thing-- it is delicious.