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. So what’s the difference in how those 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.
Is Organic Worth The Added Cost?
Is it worth the additional cost for Organic Extra Virgin Olive Oil? For manufacturers making an USDA organic certified product, absolutely.
For a consumer, the answer is a bit different. When comparing this organic extra virgin olive oil oil to regular extra virgin olive oil, no it's really not that different. The oil is very similar, but it just depends on how passionate you are about wanting to eat organically. As I mentioned though, regular EVOO doesn't require much (if any) pesticides. Of course, this is not a guarantee across all farms and brands, but for the most part, even with regular olive oil you're not going to be consuming a lot of chemicals or other pesticides people are normally trying to avoid when eating organic. So is it worth paying much more? It all depends on your personal priorities.