Q. How are the oils different?
A. Joëlle Oils are grown on 40 acres planted to three different cultivars: Mission (20 acres), Manzanillo (20 acres), and Barouni (1 acre). Each of the cultivars has a different taste. Manzanillo is peppery and grassy, Mission is mild and buttery, and Barouni is somewhere in between with a slight smoky/nutty taste. The Blend of Mission and Manzanillo is a nice compromise between the two.
Missions are the smallest in size and are left on the tree until almost completely purple. The missions yield up to 60 gallons per ton. Manzanillos are larger in size and are picked either completely green, or late harvest – when they are blushed to very purple. The late harvest Manzanillo yield about 35 gallons per ton while the early harvest – picked green, yields only about 20 gallons per ton. Barouni, a cultivar not usually used for oil but rather for home canning, yields about 35 gallons per ton.
The Joëlle oils are always unfiltered which offers more flavor as well as more nutrients.
Q. What makes it “Extra Virgin”?
A. The Olive Production Manual, publication #3353, by the University of California, Division of Agriculture, defines Extra Virgin oil as, “…mechanically pressed from olive fruit without using heat; this ‘cold pressing’ does not alter the oil… This is the pure, unadulterated oil from top-quality olives; it has perfect taste and odor, varying only with the year produced and the olive cultivar. Extra virgin oils have strong flavors and a maximum oleic acid acidity of less than 1 percent by weight.” (.5% is more frequently used in CA… ours are .18% to .24%.)
Q. How is the oil processed?
A. Harvest for the olives begins in late September and ends in January or February. Within 24 to 48 hours of being picked by hand, the olives are trucked about 15 miles from the ranch where they are custom pressed in small batches.
The olives are washed and leaves removed. In a very loud process, the olives are crushed and mixed, pits and all. The oil is removed from the resulting paste through centrifugation; the oil comes pouring out from a spout into a trough. After pressing, the oil is placed in 55-gallon drums to decant. This process takes from 6 weeks to 2 months and particles from pits and so on drop to the bottom of the drum, making the oil more smooth and tasty. The oil is bottled and labeled, then shipped off to retail outlets.
Q. How long does olive oil keep?
A. No need to refrigerate. The oil will keep in a dark, cool cupboard for up to two years.