What is Extra Virgin?
“Extra virgin olive oil is essentially the naturally extracted juice from fresh olives. The olives are crushed into a paste, and the oil is physically extracted from this paste without the use of chemicals or excessive heat,” Australian olive oil expert Richard Gawel notes. “Extra virgin olive oil has a distinctive olive fruity aroma and flavor and it contains natural antioxidants.” Refining, he adds, is a more intricate process using acids, alkalis, steam and other agents. “The refining process removes all of the aroma and flavor substances out of olive including its natural antioxidants,” Gawel explains. “Artificial antioxidants need to be added back to give the refined olive oil a reasonable shelf life.” Simply put, extra virgin means that the oil is made only from the fresh juice of olives, and that it tastes good: extra virgin olive oil is produced by mechanically pressing the olives without the use of chemicals or solvents.
Extra virgin olive oil must not have any sensory flaws, and must meet rigid chemical standards. We follow those set by the Olive Oil Commission of California (OOCC). At California Olive Ranch, our extra virgin olive oils are certified extra virgin by Applied Sensory and California Olive Oil Council (COOC). Let us walk you through how it’s made.
First Cold Press
First cold press is not a grade of olive oil, but a descriptor for how an extra virgin olive oil is made. In fact, in order to be extra virgin, the oil is required to have been not subject to any heat or abuse during processing. Otherwise, it can’t qualify as extra virgin olive oil under standards established by the Olive Oil Commission of California and the USDA.