Terms like “Robust,” “fruity,” “grassy,” “buttery,” “peppery”…these are all terms used to describe styles of olive oil. Just as there are many factors that play a role in the quality of an olive oil, there are also many influences that affect the overall style of olive oil, in particular, the olive variety and the time of harvest.
There are thousands of olive varieties and each variety has its own unique flavor and aroma profile. Some olive oils are produced from a single varietal while others are a blend of more than one variety. It is interesting to note that the many olive oil producing regions of the world have all cultivated their own varieties and these varieties reflect the distinct characteristics of their regional cuisine. After all, olive oil shines best in the kitchen where it is intended to complement and enhance food.
The time of harvest also plays a role in the final style of an olive oil. In California, olive harvest typically happens between October and December. Olives that are harvested early in the season when the fruit is still green often produce a “greener” olive oil with strong flavor characteristics. Olive oils produced from purple or black olives harvested later in the season tend to be more golden in color and often have milder, buttery flavors.
At Belle Farms, we typically harvest between late November and early December. Our Extra Virgin Olive Oil is a harvest blend of traditional Tuscan olives including Leccino, Frantoio, Maurino, Pendolino and Moraiolo. Some of the varieties are black/ripe at the time of harvest while the later ripening varieties are still green. This combination makes for a distinct, well-balanced and versatile oil that compliments many foods.