We pick our olives right at the start of the season. This is called the “first harvest.” At the time of first harvest, most of the olives are still green. Just a smattering have fully ripened and darkened to their ultimate dark purple color. First harvest olive oil requires many more olives to produce per bottle than late harvest olive oil. The amount of extra virgin olive oil made from one pound of olives when harvesting this early is 30-50% less than picking later in the season, but the quality is immeasurably higher.
The timing of the harvest is more an art than a science. It is a matter of finding the perfect moment when the taste and scent of the resulting olive oil will be best, a skill that is a matter of experience and understanding of the trees and the land.
What’s so special about green olives?
Green olives are richer in polyphenols, natural antioxidants, and chlorophyll. The olive oil made from them has a more complex and aromatic scent, taste and mouth-feel. You can taste the difference in every mouthful, and smell the difference as soon as you open the bottle.
According to studies extra virgin olive oil made from first harvest olives is also healthier due to its higher concentration of anti-inflammatory compounds and antioxidants.
Why we harvest early
The benefits of making extra virgin olive oil from first harvest olives include:
- Higher levels of nutrients and antioxidants: Olives that are harvested at the beginning of the season tend to have higher levels of nutrients and antioxidants, resulting in a healthier, more flavorful oil.
- Better taste and aroma: First harvest olives have a distinctive, fresh flavor and scent.
- Greater purity and quality: Extra virgin olive oil made from first harvest olives is generally considered to be of higher quality and purity than oil made from olives that are harvested later in the season.