What’s an Olive Oil Bottle’s “Best By” and “Harvest Date”?

We’re full steam into our harvest season in northern California. That means were picking olives and bottling fresh extra virgin olive oil, known as Olio Nuovo. And while we’ve been putting a “Best By” date on all of our bottles of EVOO, we’ve just started printing the “Harvest Date” as well. Why? To give you as much information as possible about the oil you’re getting.

Olive Harvest at California Olive Ranch

Each bottle of Olio Nuovo now shows the month and year when the olives used to make the oil in the bottle were harvested: NOV 2009, for example. Our new Everyday California Fresh EVOO also has a harvest date. We typically harvest in the months of October and November. All the oil we sell during a particular year is made from olives picked in the most recent harvest year.

The “Best By” date is the date by which we recommend the consumer use up the oil they purchased. This date assumes the bottle has NOT been opened. (We recommend using the oil within 30 to 60 days once it’s been opened.)

To make all this possible, we invested in a very sophisticated laser printer that allows us to do the following:

  • First, the laser literally etches the “Best By” date in fine print into the glass. If you check the lower, side edge of the “Everyday” bottle you’ll see the “Best By” date no longer printed in ink. It’s now literally etched into the glass. It doesn’t rub off.
  • That same printer also can print text onto a designated area of the label. That’s where we put the “Harvest Date” onto the bottle. Before this printer, we would have had to run thousands of labels with this date pre-printed. No more.
  • Moving ahead, you’ll see us redoing the bottles for all of our other oils so they’ll include the “Best By” date and the “Harvest Date.”

Bon appétit,

Claude S. Weiller
Vice President of Sales & Marketing
California Olive Ranch