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 a very similar finished 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 compare Organic Extra Virgin Olive Oil to some of the other olive oil grades, this answer varies. The process of how the oil is made and the final quality of the oil is very different as you start to compare Organic EVOO against the grades like Pure, Refined and Pomace. For example, these grades are all refined using a high heat process. Olive Pomace Oil is solvent extracted using a solvent to expel the oil (find our more about exactly how it's made here). Those oils also have different chemical requirements to meet their own grade definitions, 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 organic certifying process documents and guarantees this fact for consumers.
In general, olive trees are a very hearty trees. However, they're still subject to blights and other bug related issues. Some growers use little to no pesticides; others use them to combat issues like olive flies which can destroy the fruit.
If you want to make sure that only organic-approved products are used to support the growing of the olives used for your oil, it's best to stick to an organic-certified Extra Virgin Olive Oil.
The Final Decision
For A Manufacturer
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. Keep in mind that the most common organic olive oil type is organic extra virgin olive oil -- so when we compare organic olive oil with other oils, this is typically the grade that we are comparing.
When comparing this organic extra virgin olive oil oil to regular extra virgin olive oil, no it's really not that different. The finished oil is very similar, but it just depends on how passionate you are about wanting to eat organically. So is it worth paying much more? It all depends on your personal priorities.
Is organic extra virgin that different than some of the other regular olive oil grades like pure olive oil? Yes, this oil starts to be a lot more different in color, flavor, functionality and heat tolerance, as well as how the olives may be treated while they are grown.