There are more than a few varieties of extra virgin olive oil available in the international market, covering a wide range of preferences. Among them, you can find organic olive oil, which is usually distributed in organic shops or delicatessens.
1. What BIO olive oil means
Organic olive oil is the definition for the olive oil produced with organic processes, in accordance with EU regulations. This means firstly that the olives have been cultivated without chemical-synthetic fertilizers, plant protection products, and soil herbicides. Furthermore, the whole organic process, from the crop to the bottling must comply with the regulation on organic farming, thus the organic and conventional olive oil take-up takes place at different times so they do not contact.
2. How to spot an organic olive oil
According to the regulation (EU), no.1169/2011 of the European Parliament on the provision of food information to consumers, every package of organic olive oil should bear on the label the word BIO or ORGANIC and be referred to as a product of organic farming. In addition, for the Greek products, the GR BIO icon (Fig. 1) and that of the Certification Institute must be on the label. For the US, the corresponding organic certification icon is USDA (Fig. 2).
3. Koroneiki: The best variety
Due to the ban on using chemical fertilizers and pesticides, the preferable varieties for bio-cultivation are those resisting to diseases and adapting to the soil and climate conditions of each area. One of the best and most resilient varieties is "Koroneiki", which shows relative production stability from year to year. Koroneiki is the most important olive variety in Greece and it gives one of the best quality olives in taste and in oil yield.
4. Why extra virgin olive oil is it more expensive
Organic olive oil production is carried out with mild means and natural processes, which means that the final harvest is much smaller than those of the conventional ones. This added to the higher cost of trees' maintenance with non-chemical fertilizers and the higher risks of crop loss, leads to a rise of the price -sometimes even tripled compared to conventional olive oil.
5. The difference between Organic compared to the conventional EVOO
Unfortunately, the difference between an organic and a conventional extra virgin olive oil is not easily detectable in an organoleptic control -as it is of other fruits and vegetables. Therefore, you cannot spot differences in taste, odor, and color. This is why the Control Institutes are needed to verify that the production has been made according to the regulations. Despite this, we can say that, considering the greatest effort to produce Bio and the rigidity of the rules, organic olive oils are usually in the highest range of quality and taste.